I once had a rapport with about 100 turkeys.
We lived in Temecula California on three acres of grapefruit orchards. Not many moons before we left to move to back to Oregon, the landlord relocated a pile of almost-full-grown turkeys onto the property.
The turkeys lived out of view from the house, in a plastic enclosure about the size of a small gymnasium, fenced on all four sides.
I had volunteered for the daily job of feeding them, and as I approached their enclosure, I would call out “Hey guys.” They would answer with few 100-fold gobbles.
The owner said they liked me. I don’t know, I was the one with the food, but still our connection was fun. Except I was sorry to carry away dead turkeys. Many died, perhaps this was a culling out process with young turkeys, or they had been weakened from the handling before they arrived. Most survived, though, that was until a coyote discovered them.
I would see white feather evidence outside the cage. I called the owner, and he shored up the fence with cement blocks lining the lower portion.
However, a turkey could, in a moment of curiosity or stupidity, poke his head over the blocks and through the wire, and chomp—off when his head.
Once I dressed out a newly killed turkey, we didn’t eat it. I didn’t feel right about eating the owner’s turkeys, but rather than waste it; I did what I remembered my mother doing. Place a fowl in boiling water to make the feathers easily removed, ha, not easy, turkeys have huge pin feathers, nor was finding a container large enough to dip it in. This wasn’t a little bitty turkey, but one at least 20 pounds.
Next came the cleaning of it, followed by roasting.
An experience I don’t care to repeat.
The dogs loved eating the turkey though.
Yesterday we discovered a basic law of physics, that two animals couldn’t occupy the same space—that was one dog and one cat watching me prepare a turkey for roasting—the other dog was smart enough to stay out of the way.
Until the day before Thanksgiving, all I had for the celebratory dinner was a bottle of wine and a jar of green olives.
I was still wondering if I wanted to cook. I hopped to it, though, and did what a few million others were doing, collected our harvest at the grocery store, and prepared the meal.
When daughter number two, (Daughter number one was already at our house), came home during a window from work, the turkey was still basically raw.
Remember we had wine and olives…we had the trimmings too, and so we had dinner, sans the bird.
The family commented that the stuffing was even better than usual, as the celery still had a crunch--I had removed it from the bird, and besides a giblet broth, and three cups of butter in the stuffing, it had water from boiled sweet potatoes in it.
Our dinner consisted of mashed potatoes and gravy from the drippings, and candied sweet potatoes, and cranberries, daughter’s pickled zucchini, steamed broccoli, raw veggies, you know, all the stuff, plus about five cups of butter that flavored most everything.
Isn’t it great now that butter is good for you?
No butter in the pumpkin pie, but then the whipped cream atop it was a close second.
No one missed the turkey. Nice that it flavored the meal though.
One year when we were building our log house and living in a fifth wheel, I roasted a turkey in an outside grill, the old sort that used briquets. I fired up the grill super-hot, stuffed the turkey, wrapped it thoroughly with aluminum foil, placed it in the grill and closed the lid.
The next morning the turkey was perfect.
One Thanksgiving day in Oregon, oh, maybe 15 years ago, I got up at around four in the morning to make the stuffing and dress the turkey. That morning as the light gradually enlivened the sky, and I chopped celery and cried onion tears, I felt connected to all the women that had done this before, or who was doing it that day.
I was a pioneer.
Later on, husband and I joined the 21 century, and drove to the airport to pick up our daughter who was flying in from California.
It was a perfect Thanksgiving.
I think I am complete with turkeys.
This could be a lesson for us as with old-time trauma that I have spoken about in earlier blogs. That trauma can flavor all that comes after. Think of it this way though:
I once had an exercise where a group of participants at a seminar where we were asked to stand and grip the back of the chair in front of us. Grip it tight.
No one told us to stop.
Finally, most of us did let go. “Why did you stop?” asked the commentator.
“Because we were tired of doing it.”
Some things aren’t that easy.
I keep thinking of my doctor who said that people are evil. That man, who is excellent at what he does, has missed a critical point.
This may sound like a cliché’, but I believe it. “People are spiritual beings here to have a physical experience.”
To label them is to take the heart, soul, and magic out of it.
Think of that sweet baby with eyes that absorb the wonders of the world, and a smile that can knock you over.
We were that once.
We came here to have a wonderful life.
Along the way, tsunamis both real and psychological hit us, and earthquakes—you know I am speaking metaphorically, although sometimes those earthquakes are real, along with insults, injuries, and cruelty. Some of these projectiles stick, some are shaken off.
The ones we keep are the garbage you hear about that we are dragging behind us.
We spend many years accumulating that garbage, hey, it’s important to us. We can drag it out and think about it, mull it over, or talk about it whenever. Or make another decision and let it go,
It obscures the beautiful soul that we really are.
Doctor dear was looking at the garbage.
Changing his focus would be most advantageous.
The most powerful prayer of all is “Thank you.”
My daughter came home from work today—having cared for an invalid who has the television on all the time, and exclaimed, “Is everyone young, beautiful, brilliant, and successful?!”
Yep, I’ve wondered the same thing.
This was on top of me being at the computer too long, and searching for ways to promote my blog and trying to learn about SEO, and looking at a recommended site, with articles such as Optimize your traffic, How to promote your blog. How to use Social Media, and who to follow if you want to be an entrepreneur, a coach, a successful business person, etc., etc., etc.
On top of that they had to post the net worth of these successful people, you know $$$, in the millions and billions.
I closed my laptop, and took my fried brain for a walk while humming, *“Summ-er-time, and the livin’ is easy. The fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high.”*
It isn’t summer, but I’m dreaming about it.
It sounds strange to say that the Internet is a noisy place. But considering all the competition, the ads and popups, and clutter that comes before you get to where you are going, it feels as though someone has placed a bullhorn in my (I started to say your) right ear, blew the sound through my head, and sprayed it out the other side.
I didn’t want to blast your ears.
#Seth Godin says that the Internet is the nosiest communicating device that has ever been developed.
So, I sit and wonder how to find a quiet place where you and I can replenish our souls and calm our brain. That is if that’s what you want.
My grandpa said, “Life’s like licking honey off a thorn, it’s tricky, but you can do it.” (Nope, my grandfather didn’t say that I read it.)
Right now all is quiet. I am sitting here, letting my fingers talk to you while not licking honey off a thorn, but eating a salad of lettuce, cucumbers, avocado, onion, radishes, spears of apple, and pepitas, that is raw pumpkin seeds—a whole handful, no wonder this salad fills me up. The dressing is olive oil, salt pepper, and apple cider vinegar, simple, plain, my favorite.
I’m calm. My head is clear, and I am wondering how to find that quiet place in which to connect via a blog buried in a ton of other blogs, aka noise.
I was shocked this morning when my doctor said that people are evil.
I said, “No they’re not!”
“Well, he softened, “Maybe selfish and self-centered. I’ve heard enough people to get that idea.”
“You need to meet new people.”
I guess being a doctor, he hears a lot of complaints, but the medical community encourages it by asking “What brings you in today.”
These patients have physical challenges, and equally important are the emotional challenges that go along with it—or caused it, or is just hanging about as an irritant. Apply salve to both.
#Joanna Gaines posted an Instagram picture of her daughter’s sharpie pen drawing on her bathroom counter. It said, “Dear God, How are you doing today?”
She was courteous to God. She asked how He was doing. She didn’t ask for anything. She used a washable ink pen.
That doesn’t sound self-centered to me.
Everyone is self-centered, meaning they take care of themselves, like put on your oxygen mask first, then you can be of service to others.
Your number one job is to take care of yourself. That is not self-centered in a derogatory sense. People who don’t take care of themselves get sick, stressed, angry, depressed, fat, addicted, or other issues too numerous to mention.
You may wonder what I am talking about when I say the Sacred Path—although as I explained earlier, it is the path laid down by our ancestors to show us the way to go.
Perhaps I could explain it better by saying we are at this place in time because of our ancestors. We can read, we have a wealth of information out there that others have accumulated. We have time to think.
If we ate today, we’re lucky.
If we have a roof over our heads, we’re lucky.
A warm heater? That’s a luxury.
Don’t worry if you don’t have millions or billions in the bank; money makes life easier—for things it can buy, and the grander things like freedom and time, but who needs another pair of shoes?
By using the term The Sacred Path, I am not talking about a religious discipline, that’s your business, I am talking about the desire within many people to follow some heartfelt pull toward something greater than the minutiae of life.
This pull begins in different ways. Illnesses can kick it off. Our present openness to NED’s (Near Death Experiences) have given us a glimpse into another dimension. I can imagine that the person who had the NED would get catapulted onto the trail.
A moment of Awe can bring some to an understanding that life is grander than they had imagined.
Books can begin a person’s spiritual journey, as can a piece of music. And it can be prompted by depression, boredom, or a university course.
So while our ancestors--I’m thinking way-back, like 5,000 years or more when people began to write on clay tablets. These ancient souls had a glimpse into eternity, and they endeavored to preserve it on clay tablets, later on, on papyrus, then paper, and now the World Wide Web.
They pointed to a path; our job is to forge it into a highway.
“One of these mornings you’re gonna rise up singing…”*
*Summertime from Porgy and Bess, George Gershwin
Last night I listened to an interview that set off fireworks in my brain (or bird songs or goldfish swimming through my grey matter.).
I know you search the internet or read books that are to your liking or that are informative, so why do you need me?
But I can save you time.
And I might add some marvelous tidbit you missed, especially if you had to plow through a pile of superfluous information to find it. (A peeve of mine.)
So, what caused goldfish to swim through my brain?
Dr. #Gabor Mate’, MD.
Yeah, I know, this doesn't sound as absurd as I am making out, but that's the way mind tweets are.
Dr. Mate’ is a Canadian physician who specializes in the treatment of #addiction and #mind-body interactions.
During 1944, the first year of his life, he and his mother survived the Nazi occupation of Budapest.
Fast forward to the present time.
Mate’ is convinced that childhood TRAUMA sets in motion later body ills.
And that includes addictions, obesity, and mental illness.
A medical student does not hear the word TRAUMA associated with illness.
Trauma to the medical student is someone being hit by a bus. Doctors are not dealing with mind-body connections. They are dealing with symptoms and how to suppress them.
Don’t get me wrong I am happy with medical advances.
A couple of months ago I had a carcinoma removed from my hand—it’s gone. Thank God and the doctor. I am grateful for their medical skills.
I have arthritis of my knee that was so painful I practically stopped walking.
I got three shots in the knee, and I’m walking, happy and pain-free. Thank you medical science.
I mention this because we go to a specialist who treats our specific problem. Most doctors do not view the problem holistically.
I have a Naturopath who listens to me, asks about my past, and on the first visit, we spent an hour and a half together. Imagine. She has a holistic approach. I bless that woman.
In a doctor’s office, you need to talk fast for you have 11 minutes to explain what brought you there.
With Dr. Mate’s approach, childhood trauma is the number ONE factor in determining how the brain develops, how our hormones display themselves, and how we generally respond to life.
It is not genetics.
It is not your DNA, at least not initially.
It is how we have learned to deal with trauma.
Trauma to the child doesn’t have to be abuse, molestation, or cruelty. It can be subtle. For example, when the Nazi’s moved into Mate’s town, his mother called the pediatrician and asked if he would come to see little Gabor because he was crying all the time. The pediatrician said that he would be happy to come, but he told Gabor’s mother that all the babies in town were crying.
These babies didn’t know about being Jewish, genocide or the Holocaust, they were picking up the stress of the mother.
It wasn’t the mother’s fault. His mother was caring for her child the best she could. She loved him, but she worried for his life and hers’.
Later, to keep him from starving, she placed him in the hands of a stranger for one month. To the child that was abandonment.
Again, she was doing the best she could.
He grew up never admitting his own frustrations, anger or pain, so as not to inflict it on his mother. He became addicted to work and/or music to still the chattering mind.
A child’s brain develops in response to external stimuli—good and bad.
Daughter dear pointed out that we ought to be able to take life’s lumps and not be damaged by them.
Yep, we ought to, but don’t.
We evolved over millennia, and most of us (yep us, we were in there someplace), had short lives. Our purpose was to survive and reproduce. Who cared if we had some neurosis? And what was neurosis anyway? Every village needed an idiot.
Our brain developed well over those years. It must have been advantageous to be sensitive. Sensitivity allowed our intuition to flourish. We could go into the dream-time, the recesses of our own brain, and there find answers. It gave us empathy, generosity and cooperation. We had the village to support us, a Medicine Woman to attend to our ills, and a Shaman to support us on our spiritual journey.
Perhaps trauma hit us unawares.
Somewhere along the line, a warring nature came into being. Were we always that way? Did we always fight among ourselves, or was it somehow caused?.
Did controllers come in and tell us we were wrong to go to the Shaman for help? Did they show us that their “Medicine” was better?
Did they convince us that their power was greater than ours?
Did they tell us that we deserved to live in poverty while they were rich?
Someone did tell us that the man is superior to the woman, and therefore it was a waste of time to educate her. Not only a waste but keep her ignorant and uneducated. She’s easier to control that way.
Or did they just kill us?
I am stronger than you, in weapons and armies, and therefore what I want I will take, be it, slaves, wives, land or goods.
Dump all that on us now, and where do we stand?
Why do you think the Native peoples are among the most addicted to mind-altering substances?
They lost their land, their culture, their society, and their self-esteem. Not to mention their lives.
There is something to be said for "cellular memory."
We are conditioned to listen to authority. Our schools tell us to sit in rows, shut up and listen. Prepare yourselves for a life of toil. We are told to buy, and it ought to be the latest, best, and the thing that everybody else has.
We want sensitivity. Perhaps that’s what made the masters. They were in tune with their bodies. They listened to their gut, their heart, and their intuition. Yet the more sensitive a person is, the more they feel and internalize. (Why do artists medicate themselves into oblivion? Why do they overdose?)
Dr. Mate’ pointed out that if he touched the interviewer’s shoulder, (That was Tim Ferriss) he would hardly notice, and feel no pain. But if Ferriss had his shirt off, and a burn on his shoulder, the touch would be excruciating.
This is how the sensitive child responds to trauma.
Perhaps we became warring as a knee-jerk reaction to being exploited as well as the natural need to control our resources, therefore I will fight for my life, family and tribe, and outsiders are a threat.
It’s a common mistake to think that everything is caused by one’s genes.
Genes show potential. One person said they were fat because it ran in the family, it was in their genes.
“Is your dog fat?” asked Dr Mate’.
Whoops, the dog was fat too. Guess it’s not in the genes.
Biology is affected by what happens in a person’s life, in the family, or in society.
Heavens, our present society experiences the equivalent of a 9/11 on a weekly basis.
Most people hate their jobs, are stressed out, worry about finances and the state of the world. All this while they love their kids, but are at wit’s end in the face of technology and peer pressures.
For the most part, genes don’t predetermine or cause anything to happen. They set up potentials.
Mate’ investigated world domineers, especially Napoleon, Alexander, Genghis Kahn, and Hitler. He found, first that they were small men. Being small does not predispose one to power addiction, but they had other issues. All were also outsiders to the country they served. Even Hitler was an Austrian, not a German. They needed power to feel good about themselves, and they were willing to hurt people to get it.
These men were addicted to power.
Dr. Mate’s definition of an addiction is something that brings immediate pleasure, but long-term harm. However, the harm does not deter the person from doing it. An addict will lose their health, their beauty and eventually their lives, but that does not stop them.
Behind it all is pain.
But remember we also learned to be adaptable. We found ways of coping and helping our fellow man.
We found Meditation that stills the chattering mind.
We became adept at problem-solving.
We found spirituality that gives us a connection to a higher power.
And we developed people who search for answers and who care, like Dr. Mate’.
People say that people are competitive, aggressive and selfish, yet the opposite is true. People are community-minded, generous and co-operative.
Remember that the devil tempted Jesus and the Buddha. He offered them power and riches, and they said no.
They wanted the gentle word, the tender touch, and to help people.
Jesus taught, “The Kingdom of God is within.”
When the Buddha was dying, and the people were crying, he said, “Don’t cry for me, find the Lamp inside yourself.”
That is following the Sacred Path.