Pico de Orizaba

Pico de Orizaba
Taken from Huatusco, Veracruz, the closest town to Margarita's family's ranch.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Mole Poblano 15 years Later

Back in June I wrote a few pieces about my Hampshire College girlfriend who brought me to New York City introduced me to wonderful Mexican food and Mexican beer and who was the first person who mentioned having lived in Mexico, although for only a few months...  Back in 1996, when we frist lived together in Astoria Queens, I bought her a wonderful cookbook A Cook's Tour of Mexico, since she loved Mexican Cuisine. During those 1.5 years we lived together in New York City, she never opened the cookbook.  But I prepared Mole Oaxaqueño or Black Mole.  It took me 12 hours to prepare and was a horribly arduous affair.  However, it remains the best mole I have ever eaten in my life, even living here in Mexico 9 years.  Nevertheless I never returned to the recipe.  In fact, when Randi and I broke up, A Cook's Tour of Mexico went with her.  I bought the cookbook one more time.  But, as I wrote in "The 3 Messengers", I mailed the cookbook to Bürcu in Turkey before leaving for Mexico, since I was seeking recipes in that cookbook to cook with her when the idea of moving to Mexico and not with her to Turkey entered my mind...  This past November, while buying tiles for tiling our new kitchen, we noticed a wonderful tiled kitchen book in the tile store, Mexicocinas, and asked the owner where she bought the book, which is in English.  She directed us to a giant English language bookstore in a predominantly "American" colony of Guadalajara.  While there, I asked the young woman if she could locate A Cook's Tour of Mexico.  She informed me that it was out of print but she could locate it used and order it from the U.S.  A month later I had the book for the 3rd time in my life.   Before leaving for Margarita's family's ranch in Veracruz, I decided upon preparing Mole Poblano (which I have not eaten here in Mexico and to which Randi introduced me in 1996) and the Mole Oaxaqueño I prepared in Astoria Queens 15-years-ago.  Yesterday we entered the endeavor and, truthfully I don't know if I want to prepare Mole again in my life.  It's just too much grinding work...

On another note, these days I find myself re-reading pieces I wrote that are being read presently by people who know me...  Yes, the writing is very candid, personal, at times hostile.  It's a temporary view into what I thought or felt or believed at the moment.  For the most part I don't like my writing.  I don't believe that I am a good writer nor will be a good writer.  I think some people just "have it" for writing the way people or WE wish to read.  Back in June I believed that mixing my experience in Mexico with artwork and my "spiritual journey" would attract people to possibly want the story or the artwork. But, the truth is that the artworld and the entertainment or special interest world is much more complicated than just posting on the internet.  Plus, as I've said so many times before, we are so many people on this planet with so few spaces for extreme success.  Why me and not so many other talented people?  I pass my days trying to maintain in things in perspective.  So many people say have said, "Ross, you should publish... Ross you should sell your paintings...  Ross you should open a restaurant..."  and maybe it's true that what I create is different and is interesting.  However, I think that type of success has something to do with a mix of destiny and a mix of socio-politics..  I want to share with you my artwork, my cooking, my experience.  But, something tells me that all this is to remain very personal and private due to the design of my life.  It's to say that my life was designed in a certain way for a certain purpose... As I have mentioned, I have 5 "planets" in Virgo.  I don't have Leo in my astrological chart.  Virgo is the virgin or the hermit.  Leo demands attention.  People can't help but fall in-love with (be attracted towards) Leos (depending greatly upon where Leo falls in the person's astrological chart and what else they have placed in their chart.  Like my younger sister Beth, Pisces with Rising Sign in Leo or Scott Capricorn with Moon in Leo.  Pisces and Capricorn are dark and closed no-nonsense signs so to speak... But the placement of Leo in those spaces attracts people... Demands attention.  By virtue of... this person will "shine"...  Anya said that she didn't believe that people change...  I believed that people change.  I believed that I am an example.  But, the question is "what is this change?"  I think we are a certain way and we change within those parameters.  We react a certain way... we act a certain way within certain situations...  when we are tired or stressed or concerned or... We are another way when we are content, relaxed, optimistic etc... Depending upon the situation, depending upon what and how we have learned, we change (better phrased, we evolve).  But, I'm almost certain that the way we live is highly programmed within a combination of astrological make-up and the situation of our childhoods; the two factors that formulate our characters...  What would it take for me to become a successful artist?  I am Gemini with 5 "planets" in Virgo.  Gemini is a lover of freedom and doesn't believe in structures-forms, rules, regulations...  Gemini is light-hearted.  So, Gemini artwork is stream of consciousness, free-flowing, part of a dance.  Virgo is in conflict with Gemini, since Virgo is perfectionist, overly rational.  Gemini is gregarious and superficially socia (socialization is a game).  Virgo is anti-social in a positive sense, to say that they just don't want to be bothered with blah blah blah shallow and superficial conversations.  Virgo does not play the game.  They can live in a tree for all they care.  "Don't bother me.  I have better things to do with my time. And all my time I must dedicate towards accomplishing something..."  That something is not socio-political.  Do I want to live this way?  Do I not want to be gregarious, successful?  Of course I do.  And that is my astrological conflict I must put into perspective.  I must accept that the most "fame" I will achieve is through this blog.  You can't change the date and time of your birth.  You can't change the situation within which you were born.  And I continuously ask myself knowing all that can't be changed, "Ross, truthfully what do you expect from people and life if you know that this is the situation within which you were born?  Why do you write to these people...  Why do you 'publish' this stuff when you know that you won't see these people, when you know that no one will enter you forrest and your cave?"  You can't expect from people what they can't give...  You can't give what is not for you to give...  This is not pessimism.  It is a reality.  My younger sister Beth had a new boyfriend and she mentioned that she wanted him to meet me.  She mentioned that she wanted to visit with us this year.  I suggested that we plan on a visit on the Carribean in Playa del Carmen in December.  I mentioned that I had a friend who worked at a resort there and that she could help us with the planning. She said that she needed dates and the number of people who would visit.  The question was if Beth would be visiting with us with her two daughters...  I emailed Beth that Veronica needed the information and Beth repeatedly didn't respond to my email.  Who has the problem within this issue?  I haven't been in contact with Beth since... and no, she didn't come to Mexico.  It's possible that Beth suggested something she didn't truly believe.  It's possible that my Virgo/hermit character doesn't have enough force of attraction.  Should I be in conflict with Beth?  Absolutely not.  But I should maintain in perspective our "relationship" and my life/destiny.  Everyone has life-themes.  I've never thrown a party in my life.  I don't seek parties or gatherings.  I don't like other peoples' noise.  When I was a child, I was considered shy...  But, what is shyness? In my 20s I fought against that shyness.  But, truthfully I think it's more like, "shy of" what it takes to actually enjoy social environments...  "Shy of" what it takes to gain socio-politically...  Maybe I was shy because I was born into a situation or a state of being, into a life, where I would spend most of my time with only one other person, but not with two people... it's to say that I am either with myself or I am with you...   With you, you are the center of the universe with all my attention.  But, I have also learned that I prefer my time with myself.  I get tired of the interpersonal relationship; it's draining.  So, I return to my books, to my painting, to my kitchen, to my walking and thinking...  Can you fault me?  The problem is the 20th century middle-class first world nation within which I was born was the century of tele-communications, marketing, services and information technology.  It's not a  good era for an artistic, intellectual, perfectionist hermit...  And if I wanted to be my gregarious Gemini self, I find myself in conflict with my overly Virgo "anti-social" self...  Every step forward socially receives 2 strong yanks backwards.  One shouldn't fight against their internal truths or their destiny.  You are who you are and you must understand those limits and accept them.  We waste a lot of energy trying to be who we are not because we don't accept who we truly are.  I won't be a superstar.  That's just not me.  I have done super things.  Have overcome incredible obstacles.  I have withstood much.  I am very intelligent.  I am talented in many things.  But I am me as I am, as I was born, within what I was born.  I can't expect you to understand or appreciate this or me...  But, the least I can do is come to terms with the various conflicts and realities...  This is personal.  If I were to not share with you my personal life, you would not know anything about me because I would not be sharing with you, in contact with you...  It's very simple and understandable.  I am here and you are there; different universes.  We don't see each other.  What changes if I don't have facebook or a "Dead Man Walking" blog...?  Nothing changes.  But, for some reason I thought it important to share with you my photographs on Facebook and to share with you my "stories", experiences, journeys and ideas on Blogger.  But, I think it is only an illusory distraction away from my own personal truth and reality.

Margarita and I have a very wonderful and successful relationship.  Part of it is because we both have Ascendent in Virgo and she is Pisces, opposite of my Moon in Virgo...  She is a "no-nonsense" person, always occupied in some form of work.  We share the same space occupied in different projects.  The one person respects the other.  We both are passionate.  But it is a reserved passion that usually comes after each others' work or project.  No one expects that the one person should always be attending the other...  Neither of us needs entertainment.  We are active.  But we don't seek social or public activities...  We don't have to go out on the town so to speak.  I guess for this reason you would find me boring.  I'm not a partier, a social butterfly.  I'm not a drinker...  That doesn't take one far...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Letter to a former lover

Do you remember this song?  I think it was the song I most listened to the three months I lived in the studio in Brighton Beach. I love the song.  But one must decide when it's time to stop being the creep.  It's funny. Thom Yorke, the singer/song writer is incredibly beautiful; it shows in how he feels so deeply as expressed in his singing/performing style.  The question is, what is the good limit for feeling and remembering?  Joey called me one of those days in Brighton Beach.  I was up to my ears in "being left" and told her that I was planning on going on a long walk away from New York City and she said, "I'll miss you".  And she surprised me.  I didn't know she felt. And then I pushed her away as I pushed you away.  And then I went on my long walk without truly leaving anyone behind except for myself and my memories.  But, for some reason or another, the memories keep surfacing.  It's nice having memories.  It's also nice constructing the present.  I haven't been suicidal since you were in the Ukraine; just before Joey appeared as an intense aparition...  I truly believed that you were so beautiful and I was the creep.  And then I met Joey.  But the truth is that beauty is just an illusion or a fantasy or something you wear.  Like you said about the "beautiful people" in Williamsburg. I never accepted your statement.  But, it's true; one can change dramatically their level of beauty by changing their clothing and their hairstyle...  How is it that we can't fall in-love with that?  But, "in-love" is just a projection.  It's not real.  And, I guess love is just boring...  And true beauty...  Well it gets old.  What Joey and "had" was true beauty.  Because it got us somewhere.  I imagine it got her somewhere.  It got me on my long walk...  Don't misinterpret me just because I don't write well the truth of my experience.  The beauty isn't so much in the person as it is in the relationship (the connection) as it is in the chain of events leading you through life, from one experience or relationship to another.  You called me a "serial monogamist"...  Can you blame me for trying?  But you were wrong.  I wasn't a serial monogamist.  I just didn't believe in light superficial or shallow dating.  I wanted you to be "the one", but I couldn't make you what you couldn't be; nor could I make Joey what she wasn't; which was truly beautiful.  This serial monogamist is now married almost 9 years to a truly beautiful person within a relationship that improves everyday.  But why write you?  Because, I wouldn't have met Margarita had it not been for you.  I invite you to read my writings "The 3 Messengers, parts one through three."  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dead Man Walking; Alive in Mexico

A dead man walking... sacrifice of one life for another.  A walking suicide past life left behind.  Almost 9 years alive in Mexico living...  well...  living well...  or... living better...  Why?  You don't understand.  Claro que no (certainly not possible for you to understand) that I live almost 9 years in Spanish and I'm writing you in English.  What you don't know is that I am translating my Mexican street-learned Spanish thoughts into English ideas and maybe you are offended; not now, but before... my writings before.  It's not so much an offense as it is a misunderstanding, misinterpretation...  Dead Man Walking is about a rebirth.  The problem is that in order to be reborn, you must first die.  When you die, you don't take with you friends, family, possessions...  You don't even take with you memories.  I noticed that over the first 5 years of living here I forgot so much of my English memories; names, places, events, people...  My possessions in the U.S. left behind in my mother's house disappeared (stolen or destroyed in a flood)...  If you aren't economically wealthy, you can't straddle paises (countries).  You don't have friends or family since you can't share each others' lives, time and space.  When I left the U.S., not only did I kill myself, I killed you.  If a tree falls in the woods but you didn't see or hear it fall, did it fall?  The answer is Of Course! But not in your lifetime...  It's to say that the tree didn't fall within your experience.  Out of Sight; Out of Mind.  Popular phrases...  in English memories of a former lifetime...  Why does one person think about another?  It must have something to do with concern or with planning.  I can't be concerned about you if we can't share our lives.  I can't plan with you if we can't see one another...  So why write in English?  Why write this?  And that's why I struggle with erasing people from my former life with whom I'm "in contant" at the moment...  I don't like the I contradiction.  I can't plan for sharing time with you.  It's a foolish and unsatisfying fantasy.

Dead Man Walking but alive in Mexico...  The suicidal finally succeeded in killing himself and now he is alive in Mexico finding success.  In Mexico I am not suicidal.  As I've written before, in Mexico I am not depressed.  In Mexico I am successful.  I am very responsible.  My success is both economic, creative and social...  However, in Mexico I don't have the style of friendships I enjoyed in the U.S.; cultural differences in how people enjoy sharing time with others...  Here relationships aren't about enjoying conversation and sharing information and experience.  Conversations aren't light-hearted dealing with intellectual, social, spiritual or political issues.  They don't generally touch on those subjects...    Relationships revolve around sports, alcohol, sex and political-economic opportunities.  They don't revolve around warm sharing or true appreciation of the other person or of our connection. Sounds like I'm complaining?  I'm explaining...  

When I jumped out of my past life I sacrificed warm friendships.  My connection with you is based upon the fantasy of maintaining those warm relationships, possible conversations and possible future encounters.  Now if I'm always saying that I don't believe in lying to myself or contradictions, then why would I maintain these "relationships" if I killed that past life when I left the U.S. for Mexico?  Over the past 8+ years I've been concerned with those contradictions or hypocracies within my mind or so-called actions.  Actions referring to removing friends and family from my Facebook friends list.  You don't understand why I would do that...  You may ask, "Ross, why can't you just leave us there and not offend us by telling us that we aren't worth your friendship?"  But, it's not about that.  The friendship is worth too much to be dilly dallying floating as smoke or illusions that can never become concrete realities...  The truth is that I am dead in your lifetime and my life here is not part of your experience nor will it ever be for the most part...  It's a lets put it into perspective.

You read my past, my stories, my vicissitudes in Inglés and you say that I am totally crazy.  But you don't know the I within the present story and history.  The Ross is not crazy here in Mexico.  Maybe he was crazy for coming here; for leaving "his" country, people, culture and language.  But, he is so far from crazy here.  And that's why I try and remove the confusion by putting "us" (our relationship) into perspective.  The straddling the line between the intense reality here and the nothing there is crazy, stupid, foolish, ignorant.  I'm 42-years-old.  The most important and incredible things I've accomplished  in my life I've accomplished here in Mexico.  The lesson is being learned here.  The accomplishment is being achieved here.  But I don't, I can't have you here with me.  And I don't think that's what you want either...  Thinking about returning to the U.S. with Margarita is a foolish idea; we continue improving our life together HERE.  I don't know success in the U.S. and not with you.  I may have loved you.  But that lived love ended when I left for Mexico.  And now where are you? and who are you?  Let's keep those realities in perspective.  Straddling the line creates confusion easily misinterpreted as mental-illness...  You think I obsess with violence, mentioning humans skinned alive, breasts cut off, hearts cut out...  people hung from overpasses, people decapitated.  But did you notice that Mexican President Felipe Calderon had 4 Ministers of the Interior (Vice Presidents) in 5 years.  2 of them resigned and 2 of them died in air transportation "accidents"...  How many American polititions have died in airplane or helicopter crashes?  Over the past 5 years how many Mexican Mayors have been assassinated?  How many local judges, district attorneys, police chiefs have been killed? Look it up...

And you ask me, But Ross, why do you stay there?  And I tell you, Because it's here that I have thrived with Margarita and Margarita my relationship thrives.  And maybe it's best to die young thriving than to die old floundering...  

In July I felt I was failing with my blog.  It became angry.  It became hostile.  You may have been offended.  You may have gotten tired...  But it is a work in progress.  Life is a work in progress.  Didn't you know that? But I am dead.  But I am a dead man walking; alive in Mexico...  Why did it became angry?  Why did it become hostile?  I was sharing with you my life that lead to the jumping into the abyss called Mexico; my freefall, trustfall, suicide...  I wanted you to understand the success by understanding the "failure".  But it's very complex.  

When a person lives for success and feels themself a failure, how do they resolve that issue? Does the failure prefer failure?  I was exasperated with failure for so many decades.  But the truth is a better question, "Was I truly a failure?" and that's why I shared with you the story of my father and his illness and his death which is my illness and the model for living as a man.  I shared with you my childhood with my mother and with my sisters and with my elementary, middle-school and high school peers...  It's intense.  It's horribly difficult.  I shared with you my surgeries; not inventions of mine...  and the connected physical, spiritual and psychological difficulties afterwards and the living with the future of the disease and the complications...  And I live with those complications, difficulties and concerns within my success here in Mexico with Margarita.  And I am actually happy with myself.  Although you are not happy with me...  It's cool.  You aren't here to know the truth.  You only know your interpretations...  But why should I worry about you if you don't truly exist?

I imagine that I write this entry to you, although not really to you...  It's not actually an interpersonal writing.  It's something I've been thinking about even if you had responded to me over the past few weeks or past few months... The question is "why are we 'connected' on Facebook?"  I've been asking myself for the past few months who am I fooling by maintaining our connections on Facebook?  What am I afraid of losing if I remove my "friends" from Facebook?  And I return to the reality that nothing actually changes in my life if I 'disconnect' from those I will not see...  I have one life and that life is the one I am living here in Mexico.  It is in Spanish.  I don't have international friends here as I had in New York City, friendships in English even if those friends were from non-English speaking countries.  I read a ton of books here; all in Spanish.  The only English I read is on the internet.  The only English I write is on the internet and I spend so little time of my life on the internet.  I don't spend my Spanish hours and days complaining.  I spend those hours and days planning, constructing, sharing, teaching, producing, thinking about and feeling life and trying to understand the difficult why's that exist here and try to put all the difficulties into a spiritual perspective.  But, the difficulties in Mexico aren't really mine, since Margarita and I have succeeded so much over the past 8+ years and especially during the difficult times of the past 3 years.  We have some heavy concerns here because the country is in a horribly dire situation.  But we keep on trucking and keep on keeping on...  I'm concerned about bad things happening, since they are happening all around us.  But, so many good things are happening in Margarita and my personal life...  Lifes a process.  You can't ignore the difficult just because you want peace.  You must live and overcome and learn from and understand the difficult in order to gain and truly appreciate the good...  But, truthfully, the good is only truly shared with the people in my life; and the people are Margarita and Ross.  I wish I could say that it is shared with you.  But you aren't here and we aren't there...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Facebook "Friends" thoughts and un"friend"ing

How many Facebook "friends" should we have? And why do we have them? to see our photographs? To hear our complaints? To share our childrens' first day leaving for school on a schoolbus? For sharing information, videos, artwork...? I guess it's for maintaining an illusion of popularity or the hope for returning in time or for re-connecting with someone left behind (or lost and recovered) or for "showing off" who you've become and how popular you are... It's a perputual class reunion... It's a last ditched attempt at fighting mid-life crises, since, afterall, the mid-life crisis is about sensing the loss of youth and all of those paast opportunities, liberties, facilities, vitalities... Maybe Facebook is a returning to the unreturnable... I think it's a wonderful opportunity for fending off loneliness with the illusion of connectedness. Who knows? Maybe you'll meet new unknown friends through friends... Maybe you'll reconnect with someone on the internet and realize that they don't physically live so far away and you'll revive those friendships that died with high school or college up to 25 years ago... My "friends" live thousands of miles away. The probability of us seeing each other in person in the next 10 years is so slight. And, if there was the possibility of our visiting one another; it would be a 5 day vacation visit once every 10 years and that doesn't make for an enjoyable friendship. Here in Mexico (now Guadalajara) "life has been treating us well"... Our economy is good. We are about to have a "permanent" residence for the first time in 5 years and are planning on opening up the café "of my dreams". In one month I will finally have my painting studio I've always wanted and in our house (although not ours). Margarita and I are truly enjoying ourselves together and, I think, it could be alright if she were to become pregnant. Meaning that I think it's alright if I became a father, although, as you know, that is an incredible long-shot due to my ultimate surgery... But it could happen. We thought she was pregnant last week. I finally found where I can exercise as I've always wanted, here in Guadalajara. Outdoors, in the woods with incredible views. And I believe this is why I'm thinking about this and removing so many people who aren't friends and never could be, since it truly is just a class reunion for people to know how we've aged, for people curious about what we are up to and what we have done. Life is dangerous here. But, maybe we can manage it. Maybe it's all just a socio-political smoke screen.. Maybe it will pass with the political tide...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Dream of Female Circumcision

Last night I dreamed I was having a female circumcision... It was a very short but sufficiently lucid dream to wonder about it when I awakened... Now why would I have dreamed that dream? I'm not thinking about these things these days; the furthest from my mind. There was no pain; there was no fear... much like a routine appointment with the doctor... I saw the knife removing skin around an opening surrounded by dark hair and someone was explaining something to me...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Some Thoughts about Suffering and the Spirit I

"Positive" and "Negative" experience of the body and mind in this lifetime is not carried with the spirit and soul into other realms of existence afterwards.  Likewise, physical states such as gender, sexuality, obesity, physical healthfulness and mental health/mental illness, material wealth or lack there of aren't conditions connected with your spirit or soul.  The body dies, the mind dies, the beauty dies, the economic status dies.  But your essence continues.  The measure of true success in this lifetime is how much you have evolved, grown, learned, overcome, shared, accepted and contributed towards the evolution/growth of others.  True success isn't measured by how much you leave behind when you die, but how much you take with yourself and how much others take with themselves directly or indirectly connected with you.  If suffering was something "God" truly considered bad, suffering wouldn't exist.  

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Double Mastectomy

My cousin's wife is about to have a double Mastectomy. Mastectomy has signified for women a double stigma; the first is the personal struggle she experiences at having a part of her body removed that simbolized female sexuality in many societies. The second is how she feels men would respond to her knowing that she had her breasts removed. Breasts have nothing to do with sexuality. They have only one true function and that is to nourish a recently born baby. There are societies within which the breasts are not considered a sexual "tool" for alluring or for playing... I imagine that within those societies, the woman who suffers breast cancer suffers breast cancer and nothing else. Yes, having a part of your body removed is a traumatic experience regardless of social standards of beauty. We all have an inherent concept of who we are and that has much to do with what we've always seen in the mirror... But, what if we all were born without sex organs and breasts and we didn't have to reproduce sexually... I truly believe we'd be much more tranquil; accepting of ourselves.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Men are Pigs/Women are...?; Conversations with a Past Life, October 4, 2011

Her husband is a lawyer, he is a body-builder.  He is a father of 3 children. He is a womanizing pig.  He sleeps with his secretaries.  He slept with her best friend.  It’s been more than a humiliating slap in the face.  It’s also a bruising of her ego.  She just separated from him.  I believe she’s asking for a divorce.  But, she can’t stop talking about her suffering within the situation.  And she has her friends entwined within her existential conflict.  After all, how can you be a true friend if you don’t say supportive things showing that you understand, that you care, that you are on her side?  But the problem is that the conversation reverts to “Men are… this”…  that he is a …  One of her friends wrote, “He had everything a man could want…” But, no one truly wants to help the situation.   This is my response (I could lose Facebook “friends”.  But, as we all know; if they were friendships created on Facebook, they aren’t more than illusions bound with photographs and words):

It's not a rational thing; having everything a man could want. Virility (which doesn't have only to do with sex) is about accumulation, be it a collection of cars, a big house, a nice vacation house, and an apartment in the city, friends at increasingly higher socio-political levels, sex-partners... Virility is about the illusion of power and self-worth. If he always saw himself as worthless and if he has a big bruised ego, he will strive for proving to himself and others that he has value. It doesn't matter how and who is his wife. It doesn't matter that he has 3 beautiful children. The problem is profoundly psychological and spiritual. Mix that with socio-political models of how men should be if they want to be accepted as truly valuable men... But the problem isn't only about men. It's about women too and what women expect from men and how women believe they should appear to men. Remember, the man should be your prince in shining armor. But, in order to be a prince, he must have money and status. So, he must be a laywer, doctor, successful business man. And what must you as a woman have to become his princess? You must be a material object of his desire, which also makes you a material object of the desires of other men. You play the game. Within the game is a ton of built in risk. Now, why would a man become an obsessed body-builder and why would the woman be attracted to this man? When men and women fall into this game of "Men are jerks" and "women are..." they are like dogs chasing their tales. And why run around in the same circles? Because neither person wants to admit the truth within the situation. They want the game; but they don't want to accept the consequences. And the truth is, Do they really want change and to avoid these situations? Amiga, let yourself be a normal 42 year old mother and not obsess over your appearance waiting for everyone to tell you you are gorgeous or sexy. How about just being a normal, attractive 42-year-old woman about to enter into Menopause... How does that idea make you feel? I'm sure it feels horrible. And the question is WHY? It's a very personal question. But if you can address it and accept the true response and deal with the reality of that response, then maybe you can deal with your relationship or relationships and stop running around in circles desperately and maybe you can start truly enjoying yourself, your children and your life... But perpetually accusing THE OTHER doesn't resolve the problems. And, my question is, "if women hear these comments about men being idiots and so many other things since adolescence (the conversations become incredibly prevalent after college), then why not dedicate a life to abstenance? But the truth lays at a deep subconscious level; because the women know that they are equally fucked up and equally to blame for the inter-personal relationship problems as are the men. Don't you understand? But, maybe you don't want to understand. You just want to spend your time miserable blaming the other for your decision to be with them in the first place and to seek their style of MAN.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Astrology, the Kamasutra, Male Chauvanistic Mutts and Feminist Bitches; Conversations with a Past Life September 28, 2011

I remember you mentioning not being interested in Astrology or something of the sort...  But, I don't remember hearing any super harsh words that caused a red flag saying, "careful not to mention the word Astrology..."  Well, I am a born again believer...  No.  Your reaction to astrology is much like my reaction to new agers and activists and new age activists...  Would it be unfair if I said I despised them...  Why despise?  It's a very harsh word.  I want to accept these super well-intentioned people.  But they seem to be so detached from the reality of the world...  But back to you.  You sound very angry today, especially towards your father... and his...  I don't like the word Yoni or Yani.  It brings me back to a traumatic experience I had with the Kamasutra...  Just kidding.  I studied Hatha Yoga at R.V.C.C., for one horrible semester or less.  The problem is that I have a short stubby body.  I'm being poetic.  My body is very stocky, with short arms, which means that I have horrible difficulty with those stretching exercises meant for long slim people...  So, you can imagine what my reaction was looking at the drawings of the sexual positions in the Kamasutra.  I never opened that book again.  But back to you again... No, I don't know biblio burro...

As you know, I didn't grow up with men in my house.  I don't know how my father would have been.   My mother was horrible.  So, I can't say that I get my "feminism" from her...  I am a man.  I am a man with those foolish male ego self-validation, virility needs.  I don't know if it's instinct or based on male socio-psychological problems that causes the man to need to be validated by strangers; it could be part of the male socio-political structure; hierarchy.  For a man to feel successful, he must attract women... Penis Power?  All that said, it angers me greatly hearing about a husband and/or father who blatantly or flagrantly cheats on his wife.  In Mexico there is a saying, "The married one is SHE" meaning his wife...  For awhile I stopped being "friends" with married men here who openly spoke about their girlfriends, as if it were normal.  And then they would talk about how their children were so important to them, their daughters are their princesses...  One of these "friends" tells his girlfriends that he is married, but "out of respect for THEM".  And I ask, "what about 'out of respect for your wife?'"  And how do the children feel? What do they learn? 

I hated being presented to their wives knowing that horrible secret.  But worse was feeling that she was "the fool"... Don't misinterpret that statement.  She was made into "the fool"...  By being friendly with their husband, by being friendly with them, while knowing the secret, I was participating in a horrible hypocracy. So, I prefered not knowing their wives.  I couldn't give them the respect they deserved; which in a very strange way translates into disrespecting them...  Holding the secret is a participation in the disrespect.  Respecting them entails mentioning infront of their husband and them the horrible game he is playing, so we could get into an argument so I could explain what is the duty of both people...  Respecting her would be telling her to get herself the fuck out of the relationship.  But, it's very complicated.  Who are my friends here in Mexico?  They are the people who also travel around in the giant and luxury state fairs with their businesses.  So, truthfully, we don't ever become so personal; there is no time or space.

As for my surgeries... my childhood... no one knows me enough.  All of the experiences are horribly isolating, alienating...  You know that most people don't want to hear about oppressive shit outside of the movie theater.  But, you know that the movie will end in a few hours and you return to your safe, calm world. Back during the summer when I was in the midst of writing all of this personal stuff, hoping someone would find value in it, I realized that the only people who will respond to my writings are people who have similar experiences.  But, I see myself as so much more than just the surgeries shit and the risk and varied connected discomforts.  Although much of how I view the world is connected with these experiences.  What I mean is that I don't want to be seen as one thing.  But, the stress, the discomforts, the concerns,  the frustrations... turn my body (or mind) into a pressure cooker.  Truthfully, I don't know what I would expect anyone to say if they were to say something. 
The person with a permanent ailment, disease, who has periodic surgeries or lives with disease, surgeries or death hanging over his head is in a world separate from those who don't know the personal hospital experience outside of the maternity ward... being a lab test animal, a dog put on the Veterinarian's table...  Frigid God-like doctors who treat you as a slab of meat, meaning that you don't feel.  But, they can't become sensitive or they won't do their job well. They won't tell you all the dirty details or maybe you won't have the surgery or maybe they believe that they will add to your discomfort if they tell you the truth...  I don't know. 

I don't have friends.  I have Margarita.  I have my brother-in-laws (I don’t consider them my friends; it’s more like a strange experiment).  My friends are at different ends of the world.  I've lived most of my life far distant from others because my mother was that way with me and because I was picked on for being "A Jew" and then a "Poorboy"... Being “Jewish”, having a genetic strangeness, having surgeries, shitting more and shitting differently is alienating.  I immersed myself in intense romantic relationships, probably for creating the illusion of connection with another,  of creating the illusion that someone else truly understands.  But no one can truly understand.  It’s not just very complicated, it’s supra personal.  And here I am writing you stuff that you aren't prepared to read, because you don't know me.  And it's true.

Would I read so much written me by someone I don't know?  I doubt it.  I don’t usually have so much patience.  I probably don’t want to get tangled up in other people’s problems I can’t resolve.  What can you say to ease your own stress knowing that the other person seemingly needs your assistance? 

So, why do I do it to you or anybody else for that matter? 
I believe there is something else going on with my writing; there is something else I’m trying to share.  I use these “conversations” as a blackboard attempt towards truly understanding the message I’m trying to get across.

My story is about overcoming horrendous obstacles, finding beauty and meaning in life from a life that began as a horrible quicksand trap.  Not only about overcoming obstacles, but about creating and overcoming additional, unimaginable challenges, about finding “god” or spirit or something way beyond what can be proven scientifically and about living alongside unmoveable obstacles…  And someday my writing you will help someone connect and better understand and better live somewhere down the road.  Astrology is part of this, because it helps us understand that somethings or many things have so little to do with you, including mental illnesses, including superstardome.  You didn’t do it.  Maybe your family’s money and connections helped a bunch.  But, for you to stand way out of the crowd, there must have been something else going on…  It’s a crap-shoot.  “Luck of the draw”?  I don’t see life as being about luck, good or bad.  I see it as chance.  Maybe “God” or the spirits or your ancestors connected with “the higher power”  decide you should have an Astrological make-up that allows you to stand ahead of the crowd.  But, maybe Astrology is just a formula for creating each new born baby’s distinct destiny.  Or maybe your soul (or spirit) decides that it wishes for a certain experience and decides to be born under a certain cosmic positioning…  For some reason it seems so much easier to administer using mathematics and maintaining organized accounts.  How can God keep track of so many spirits?  Yes, you are thinking that I am a born again fool…  If you don’t know about my surgeries, you can’t understand that I saw something about our existence you’ve never seen…  If you don’t see something, you can deny its existence.  But that does mean that you are correct and that it doesn’t exist, just because you didn’t see it…  As I’ve written earlier, I saw my small intestine.  I touched it.  I didn’t feel the touch.  But, my intestine responded to the touch.  It was like a snake or a slug or a worm and it retracted into my abdomen.  I was changing my colostomy bag hoping that the damn thing would be calm enough time for me to clean the area where I attached the shit bag and replace the damn contraption, that had the tendency towards coming unattached in the most compromising positions and place.  Well, the snake did not read my mind or respect my needs and it stretched its head back out of the hole and spit shit at me…  No, I’m exaggerating.  It’s nothing like a bathroom experience.  The small intestine is just moving the food waste along towards the end of the line.  It’s a movement I didn’t feel.  I couldn’t know when it would release more shit.  I could see it moving.  But, I couldn’t feel it moving.  The small intestine is not connected with the mind.  It cannot obey orders;  it’s not like the anus.  It’s not like the lungs, although the lungs will cease obeying your orders if they feel you are going to harm yourself… 

Now, if this is my body.  If I am the one who rules this entity, then why can’t I communicate with my small intestine?  Why does it and my lungs and my heart have the last word?  Why can’t I decide that I truly don’t want to eat and be able to tell my stomach to decrease the amount of stomach acid secreted into the stomach so as to decrease the risk of stomach ulcers?  The body has fat stores to protect you from famine.  But, what if I have too much fat stored and I believe it’s time to burn some of that excess fat and I tell my body, “look, if you need energy, burn the damn fat.  Look stomach, nothing is going your way for a few days, turn off the hunger alarm.”  ????

Your body is not yours damn it!  It is a vessel, “for getting you there…”  Where?  I don’t know where you are going.  I can’t answer that question.  It is not yours.  You are of your body.  You are trapped in your body.  Yes, you alter your body; but so superficially.  Don’t delude yourself.  You were placed in a body, with a family and within a class, within a society, below a status…  For what reason?  That is for you to figure out or not; it all depends upon you.  So, why not the body and why the spirit or the soul; your self?  Why yoga, why meditation, but why not Astrology?  Fuck all the pitiful offensive people.  You saw their trap, you saw their game.  Just because I don’t like certain vegetarians, doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t eat vegetarian food.  If I learned that George Bush Jr.’s favorite dish was Thai Mussaman Curry, it wouldn’t cease being my favorite Thai dish. 

In one of my first blog pieces I wrote about my friend José “Montaña and how he sees spirits or phantasms.  Well, a few weeks ago, my brother-in-law Nicolas presented his girlfriend Adreana to José.  One of the first things that José said to Adreana was “you are missing one of your grandmothers…”  Adreana said, “No, that’s not true.  Both are alive.”  Half an hour later Adreana received a phonecall from her mother stating that her grandmother had died that morning… 

José Montaña sends me messages through our cell phones saying, “In my session at the moment I have a Taurus—Aries with Moon in Scorpio.  What can you tell me about them…?”  And I tell him a bunch of garbage that comes to mind, since I am not an expert on Astrology, nor am I near that, nor do I have any books here for consulting.  But, he usually tells me that I was pretty much on the dot with my quick garbage statement.  José hopes I will study Astrology so that I can teach him.  He doesn’t read.  He has eye problems…  But he helps heal people.  But he doesn’t heal himself and he doesn’t listen to me about his health…  And I don’t usually say anything, since it is a waste of time for the most part. 

He says that he wants to go with me to New York City.  He says he wants to meet my family.  He believes he once knew my mother.  He says that he has dreams about New York City before the bridges were built…  Most  New Yorkers don’t think about New York City before the bridges were built…  New York City isn’t New York City without it’s monuments…  So, why would he say such a thing?

I see it as being on the same line as his statement about Adreana’s grandmother.  When Nicolas and Andrea returned to tell him what happened, José just stood there staring at Adreana.  He didn’t smile.  He didn’t gloat.  He didn’t say, “Ya see?  I told you so!”  He says that spirits attack him in the night.  They don’t let him sleep.  He says that they want to remove him from this world.  However, José said that when he returned to Guadalajara from Zacatecas Saturday night, he was able to sleep undisturbed for the first time in years…  They left him be…  We’re not talking about Schizophrenia;  Schizophrenia wouldn’t explain what he said to me 4 years ago and the appearance of my grandfather in my mother-in-law’s kitchen.  Schizophrenia wouldn’t explain José “knowing” about the death of Adreana’s grandmother’s.
Astrology can explain certain things.  But I’m interested more in what it doesn’t explain; and that is what comes before astrology.  I see astrology as how our characters/personalities/moods were formed.  It’s still our physical body in ways, although no.  I’m more concerned with our spirits; and I don’t believe in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic concept of God. So, when I mention God or Spirit it is because I am writing within the confines of our language and our imagination… 

We live within fantasies and illusions no matter how informed, educated and intelligent we may be…  Science could be a convenient illusion or delusion or smoke screen…  Believe in god or pay the consequences.  But if there is no god, there are no consequences.  But, what if I am wrong and there is a Judgement Day? And that is one of the many doubts built into the system of enculturation in all societies…  They teach you very early on…

But, my concern is that so many people have been murdered, exploited, neglected, abused etc and yadi because of the so many different systems of thought that explain the difference between US and THEM, justifying abuse of others throughout the history of humankind… 

We could say that everything that happens on this planet it God’s will, including your father fucking his secretary and Mexican men saying that the one who is married is the wife…  It’s God’s will that we rape and mutilate and disrespect and exploit and lie about others.  Maybe it’s part of male nature to have extramarital affairs and maybe it’s part of the female nature to fall and fall again for that type of man, since his virility his ability to play the game is what truly attracts women.  I saw that at Hampshire College with it’s 60% female and feminist population ragging on the “feminist” males as being SNAGs (Sensitive New Age “gag-me-with-a-spoon” Guys)…  Political power fantasies.  Very few of the activists truly want the relinquishment of the power struggle…  It’s about being an Activist.  It’s not about having a healthier world.  Maybe the men should fuck who they want, especially if the women are willing to give it to them…  Oops! Did I just say something wrong?  How about this:  The bitch doesn’t complain when the male dog leaves her side to pursue another bitch in heat…  If the guys hang out on the street corner like a pack of dogs barking in unison at the woman passing along the street, why complain?  Afterall, God made all of the animals similar in certain aspects.  And within our bodies we find a snake from our mouth to our anus.  The only thing missing is spinal column attached to our digestive tract.  But, in all other forms, the digestive tract moves food in the same way of that of a snake… 

My connection with you is not about Astrology. After all I don't like Cancers.  Ha! Ha!  No.  It's about the spiritual possibility.  And I don't like the word spiritual.  It seems like my own personal buzzword.  But, I don't have another language you can understand.  So, I assume that there is always the possibility of connecting with someone regardless of what is considered socially normal. 

I'm not socially normal.  I wasn't born socially normal.  Without opening my mouth, without lifting a finger I wasn't socially normal.  It's part of my destiny.  I couldn't prevent the death of my father and I couldn't prevent his passing on the gene to me...  It's enough to understand that this has nothing to do with character, attitude, world view or decision making.  Life or God or the Spirits or the astros decided for me.  And I spend my life responding within the situation.  Built into the situation is the reality that so few people could possibly understand what the hell...  From the very beginning of our meeting, wherever and however that may be, you and so many others will notice that I am different.  It could be very basic from the osteoma on my forehead THAT I REFUSE TO REMOVE IF I HAD THE MONEY, since I'm not so frivolous or shallow (I am very vane), to hearing how I talk...  You wouldn't become close to me because of a warning bell and I would be very careful not truly allowing you into my world if I didn't feel that we had some work to do together...  something truly to share...  I'm very frank and very candid.  But, in the real world, I keep you at more than an arms length... 

But, about "knowing" a person...  How many of us know ourselves?  Ok, that may seem like a popular new age question...  Fine.  How many of us truly know the person to whom we are married?  How many people know the true reason we hooked up and then made the decision to marry?  How many people know the true reasons why they make horrible mistakes or horrible life decisions?  Do you truly like what you think you truly like?

I think life is a crap shoot.  You make the best decisions you can and you live with the repercussions and hope that you are being clean and honest with yourself....  Hopefully we are truly intuned with ourselves, with life and with others...  That way we have a slightly better chance at not fucking up... 

You've gotta understand that I met Margarita without a common language.  And I remembered everything she told me about herself and her family when I was in my first weeks of learning Spanish with a dictionary in my hand and with my ears open trying to have a conversation in everyday life... 

I didn't know Margarita.  She couldn't have known me.  She does not know "my world", meaning that she doesn't know where I grew up, where I was born, how are the people, how do I interact with them and a hundred thousand more things. But, I know her world. I'm a semi-expert in her world.  She doesn't know English.

But, somewhere down the line she must have learned faith in me or in us...  I could leave.  I could disappear and she wouldn't have any way of seeking me without legal access into the U.S., without English, without money...  And I feel horrible for her, since that's a horrible thing to carry.  But somewhere there must be true respect and consideration within the relationship. And we must believe in the other person.  We must trust.

I wonder why I should trust you with all this information I share with you.  I chose you.  And that could be horribly stupid or foolish.  But, if you disappear, I don't lose anything, since you were never truly there.  If you were truly there, you wouldn't disappear, if you know what I mean.  It's a belief in spirit... or destiny or life's work. 

You can say anything. You can ask anything.  Language was created for exchanging information, for communicating--for sharing ideas and experiences, for knowing, for understanding.  Very few people have anything to share... nor do they truly share concerns...  If you lack that, it will just be another leaf floating upon the river...  But if you are different... Well, lucky me and lucky us...  Like I said, it's a crap shoot.  And then you die.  And then your body becomes organic crap shat out of a  whole bunch of other varying organisms.  But I am not just my body.  And I learned that through my surgeries...  Sometimes you must have alternative experiences in order to start understanding exactly what the hell is going on around you.  Maybe you've gotta have those experiences to actually begin truly interacting with the real world...

That's why I ask you questions about what happened in Colima, about your husband.  Because I believe something else is going on.  And I believe you know it...  Maybe you shouldn't have thought it special that you believe that you and I are the only ones from Branchburg who know of Evergreen and Hampshire.  In the bigger picture, this is actually very small.  But, it does say something about the other person and possibly their value systems.  But you will find a whole bunch of horribly materialistic, egoistic, super-privileged, status hungry Hampshire alumns who would make you nauteous.  I was different there too...  But something drew me to that school and that something has something to do with my style of living and my world or universal view. 

So, maybe, possibly you don't need to truly "know" me...  to know me, to ask questions or participate within the conversation.

Or maybe I'm incorrect.  And, no, I'm not that person in the café talking about who is a triple Leo...  Infact, I have very little interest in the astrology of others.  It helped me put myself and my life into perspective.  It helped me understand aspects of certain relationships.  I do think it can help people understand themselves more, accept themselves more and possibly understand their relationships with others.  But, that is a personal belief based upon experience and I don't spend my time within Astrology here...  I begin looking into Astrology when I am bored and have nothing better to do with my time, meaning that I don't have a book, am tired and don't have the space for painting, or the inspiration for drawing...  I go through periods of heavy reading and then periods of almost no reading.  I go through periods of painting and drawing and then periods when I don't paint or draw.  Reading usually is during the Autumn-Winter period and painting/drawing is during the spring/summer period.  "Autumn/Winter cocoons"...  I was just loving the reading spree of the past 3 weeks.  I don't have a book that grabs me at the moment and I've never had the patience for reading on the internet.  Astrology is easy, quick, sometimes very intriguing or momentarily intriguing as it was for a moment today. 

And there you have it, my response.

And now you probably think I'm totally nuts and it doesn't matter what else I say.  Read your message.  I am inspired to comment to something you wrote.  I re-read what I wrote and am inspired to expand upon what I wrote.  And then I realize that so much of what I wrote has so little to do with you, but has something to do with what I want to say to others, so I place it on my blog, risking you thinking that I had broken some sort of interpersonal/privacy code.  And then I decide to re-read what you wrote, since I am sure that I didn't adequately read or respond to what I read.  And here I am... not as nuts as you probably think...  

Truthfully, I don't understand why I woman should be looking at her watch or a clock when she is in the midst of giving birth.  My mother told me that I was born around 1pm.  That would have made my rising sign Libra or Scorpio.  In all I read about rising sign in Libra or Scorpio, I didn't see me.  So, I contacted the hall of records of the municipality where I was born and they sent me my birth certificate with the time: 10:45am.  Big difference making my rising sign Virgo, with all the hyper critical, perfectionist, prudish, analytical and isolationist social qualities...  I don't like parties.  I don't like small talk.  I don't like public events.  I don't like crowds.  While I work in giant fairs, I've never been to one in my adult life, with the exception of going with the environmental club to the 4-H Fair...  I love New York City and walking through all the crowds; but I'll repeat WALKING THROUGH the crowds, passing through them, not staying within them.  I'm not agoraphobic or xenaphobic.  I so much prefer large cities of isolated rural regions...  I don't go to parties; I've never thrown a party.  

But back to knowing the time of our births...  Only for Astrological purposes, I wish that all exact birthtimes were recorded; not by the mother, but by the hospital and saved within the hall of records...  But, that's only to say that the society believes in Astrology.  Otherwise, why record this information?

I can't understand your father's behavior as being embarrassing for your mother.  I feel that the word for describing her experience must have been much worse.  Then again, I don't know how he went about it and how he presented it or reacted to accusations and concerns infront of you or towards her...  I can understand how you would have felt embarrassed.  Afterall, it was your father...  But, having not been there to experience him and your mother, truthfully I can't near imagining, although I can imagine how your mother felt...  

Children do one of two things in response to their parents' behaviors: 1) they emulate them/repeat the same lifestyle; 2) they organize their lives and mentality around not repeating their parents' behaviors.  But, our first role model and the #1 educator/informer is our parent.  So, it is human to not being exactly as you wish you would be...  But, you must learn to truly accept you.  Saying that it is human not being perfect is just a throw-out phrase that probably makes you feel worse in ways, since it sounds like a cop-out.  "Who do... Who do you think you're foolin'"  Who sang that line and tell me more about that song...  I'm not pulling out any more of the lyrics; drawing a blank, although I know exactly who sang the song...  I see them singing it on the Muppets:-)

Truthfully, what inspired me most to write you one more time is your statement about not knowing me well enough to discuss such an intimate statement...  But, that's just the problem.  No one thinks they know another person well enough to discuss such an intimate issue.  Michael's wife M'nique surprised me and visited me in the hospital during the last surgery.  We weren't close.  She visited me alone, without Michael.  I imagine Michael visited me.  But, M'nique is strangely shy or timid or prudish (she's a horrible Virgo).  But she visited me, which was great.  I spent my last New Years Eve in the U.S. (and the only one that I actually celebrated in my life, since my father died that day and I was raised not celebrating it) with her (her invitation) in a Native American sweat lodge ceremony in Stony Brook, Long Island.  Michael was "abroad".  I believe he was in Sydney.  So, I went with her and my friend Milo.  None of my friends comment on my writings in my blog.  No one talks to me about this stuff.  Margarita is incredibly supportive and goes through stages of concern or worry.  But, I'm sure she senses my tension connected with the subject of doctors or examinations and she learns to not say anything, as I am with José "Montaña"...  She wonders what is going on within my body.  I wonder too...  But, maybe I don't truly want to know.  Or I don't want to enter into that discomfort connected with being responsible...  Or maybe it just doesn't matter, because I don't believe that any Mexican doctor can know anything about my "disease" and if they did know something, I don't believe they will be very adept...  So, why enter?  

I have my wife.  But, there is a cultural/language divide...  We connect deeply.  We develop an increasing understanding, love and respect for one another.  But, she is only one half of my reality; my other half is my former life in the U.S., my yearning for reconnecting with those people, with sharing with them, with returning to that lifestyle.  I yearn for having intimacy with true friends.  But, that is almost impossible.  And you can't just be intimate with just anyone at any given time.  And you can't be intimate because someone said so, that someone possibly being you.  I've learned a lot from life and a lot from relationships.  And one thing I've learned is that you shouldn't expect anything from anyone.  Whatever you've said to me that is intimate, is a surprise and has been inspiring or appreciated.  But, as you know, I don't ask you a question two times.  You share what you share.  And if you don't share anything tomorrow; well, that's absolutely normal.  

All this said, I don't believe I will return to the U.S.  I need a miracle that would say that it all would work out; and I won't abandon Margarita.  She is my connection to the me that I love and respect.  And I never met "her" in the U.S., if you know what I mean. But there is a cultural issue within me, and that is that I am not from here and I long for what I enjoyed there, that I don't find here and the most important of those things is TRUE AND ENJOYABLE FRIENDSHIPS.  Mexicans don't understand that...  There are cultural issues here that make it very difficult to find this type of friendship.  Here, the friendships are more political and reguarded with suspicion...  And as I've said before, male friendships revolve around alcohol and around the disrespect towards women..

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Saturn in the 9th House; Saturn in Taurus; Thoughts about Astrology, Thoughts about Ross

For me, Saturn is the most important planet in Astrology, since it relates to your life struggle, fears, shadow; something you must question, confront and overcome over a lifetime.  Saturn is your route that encompasses and influences all of your other astrological planets and signs.  As modern humans, each of us choses which planet most interests us depending upon our "needs" and desires at the moment.  For instance, the sun has so much to do with ego, the moon has to do with some sort of dependency/connection within relationships, your emotional state, Venus has to do with aesthetics/beauty/tastes, cultural styles, art...  Mars has to do with aggression and how you go pursue your goals, be it gaining a lover or obtaining a material need, pursuing a career.  Jupiter has to do with your spiritual beliefs, the Rising sign or Ascendent has so much to do with relationships, how people perceive us and our outward appearance, and Saturn has to do with our true life struggles, our fears, what we think we reject, what we hide in the closet, our shadow.  If you believe that the only way to overcome obstacles is by confronting them, then you embrace your Saturn and you don't hide yourself from others or from yourself...  You accept conflict as part of the process...  But maybe you believe that the most important aspect of your horoscope is your Sun, Mars and Ascendent.  That wouldn't be a surprise if you are from 21st Century Hollywood influenced United States. Ego, Ambition and Public Relations/Networking/Who you know/appearance (Sun, Mars, Rising) are all about that.  The problem is that there is so much more to life and to you than those 3 aspects.  So, if you ignore the rest, maybe you will become very disattisfied later on in life...  All this said, I read that my Saturn is in Taurus in the 9th House.  But I can't find any information written about that as a whole.  I only encountered Saturn in the 9th House as if that means that it is in Sagittarius or Saturn in Taurus, although she connects that with the 2nd house...  Following are the two written pieces.   Both heavily ring a bell in me...  

Here we have the call of the spiritual journey—here the “work” of Saturn in Sagittarius or the 9th house is about learning what brings meaning to life. Sound easy? It's not….this is not the typical old model of the religious journey, with its call to hand over spiritual authority to someone else, but the call to seek personal meaningfulness in this life. This is a quest for knowledge—it’s not about accepting the image of a god who is all knowing and all judging—in fact, with this placement, you’re likely to find the idea of an Old Testament god or any patriarchal super-ego to be quite distasteful! (Yes, this could include your boss at work too…)
But…you’d like to be right. You have a hunger for wisdom. You may be persistent, humorous and have a tolerant view of life, yet at your core there’s a hunger for something more. You want to get your relationship with God and Life right—even if you’re an atheist. You want daily work that has meaning, and a life you can be proud of. Who doesn’t? But your ability to set priorities and “focus in” can make the rest of us look spiritually lazy...for you’re willing to travel, study and struggle to come into right relationship with your Self.
Some astrologers might see this Saturn placement as being one of the “reluctant philosopher.” It sounds easy, but the search for wisdom often leads us on paths that travel right through hell before we get it right. You don’t get this hunger for Truth, fairness, and spiritual equality by being in a state of bliss—it’s more likely you’ve seen and lived through the worst, and passed through the shadows of prejudice, constriction, and narrow minded injustice. Most of us are reluctant travelers through the realms of hell.
Saturn Return Questions: With Saturn, the planet of “concentrated focus” in expansive Sagittarius, you will be challenged to see both sides of any issue and to hold the “tension of the opposites” in your life till the gleam of understanding and wisdom breaks through. Don’t give up! As you willingly hold two opposing viewpoints or have to choose between “a rock and a hard place” make a decision to wait and ponder before acting. The right answer will arise in time. Can you set your own self-generated priorities and find what brings inner freedom for you? You are being called to be a wise person who will teach the rest of us the true meaning of freedom, tolerance and love. But no short cuts are allowed—you can’t do a spiritual bypass on emotional problems. One step at a time…and you’re there. Not so bad! ~ Elizabeth Spring

With Saturn in Taurus there can often be a “fear of loss” both subtly and not so subtly. Saturn’s lesson in Taurus is to teach the individual how to develop his self-worth by discovering and upholding his true sense of values and priorities, independent of society’s judgment.
  On the downside, there are several challenging manifestations with this placement.
 Saturn in Taurus appreciates the fine things in life, but still may be dealing with a sense of scarcity and fear of loss on some level. There’s a desire for stability—emotional, financial, even spiritual. Taurus would like clear uncomplicated answers. Life is paradoxical and often messy, so this in itself upsets those who have Saturn placed in Taurus.
   Taurus has an affinity (or ‘issues’ as we often say!) with food, beauty and money—so Saturn here tests our relationship with each of these things. Physically, it effects how we feel about our body; the manner we perceive ourselves physically, and how susceptible we are to social pressures about our looks. If other planetary parts of our charts are rebellious and are non-conforming there can be even more challenges, as Saturn in Taurus can manifest as a love-hate struggle with food, money, diets, exercise, and struggle with the process of aging.
Similar to other earth signs, Saturn in Taurus can be a workaholic who can experience guilt and shame for indulging in the rewards of hard work. In a sense you could see yourself as “being tested” for knowing and living by your true sense of values. Don't make material things too important. You may want to possess even loved ones; so jealousy can be a problem.
 Saturn in Taurus is persistent to the point of stubbornness, and has great stamina and loyalty. You can be very pragmatic, restricting yourself in the present, and with careful planning you may put off immediate gratification for the promise of future reward.
 If Saturn is afflicted by difficult aspects, money isn't denied, but there may be problems attached to it, as well as in the use of your sexual energy. The 2ndand 5th chakras are involved here, so sexual as well as throat and speech issues can be important. But because something is “challenging” doesn’t mean it’s bad or lacking, in fact, when you meet the challenge, you may very well find you have gifts in precisely those areas in which you are challenged!
 Saturn in Taurus motivates one to discipline, structure, and ‘grounding’. Saturn here will teach lessons of trust, patience and self-worth. Many people with this placement achieve what they want in life because they are willing to bring their loyalty and persistence to long-term plans and goals.
Saturn Return Questions: When do I sabotage myself by being too slow to respond or too fearful to take a risk? Could I give myself more time to ponder what my true beliefs are, and act from them, rather than “reacting” to outside pressure or expectations? Do I cultivate-- and let myself appreciate--the joys of loyal friendships? What would happen if I changed my mind about some old assumptions? elizabethspring@aol.com   www.elizabethspring.com

Monday, September 26, 2011

Anti-Culturalism, Anti-health in Mexico; God, the devil, books and conversations with a past life September 26, 2011

I didn't find the books I was looking for today when I went to one of the few bookstores I know in Guadalajara. So, I have only two options for passing my time; 1 is writing, which means I've gotta return to the yoga letter response I lost the other day; 2 is draw or paint. But after walking for miles around the city, I'm too tired to draw or paint. So, I guess I must return to that letter, although this response won't be as interesting as the one I lost...

Your husband is an unpaid PT artist... So, if he works as a part time artist, what does he do for the rest of the time... I didn't pick-up your resentful tone the last time I read your letter... You didn't mention his birthday, nor his name, nor anything else. I guess that's a bad sign... You probably don't like that I said that you benefit from your role as the breadwinner... I guess you would appreciate some more contribution from his part. I don't know him... Nor do I truly know what it is you truly expect from life, from yourself and from others. I don't think it's just that. Expectations are strange, arbitrary, often fantasies. So, the question is Do you feel you are receiving enough from yourself and from life, from your relationship from him? I'm not asking you for a response to me. It's something you must do for yourself. How much money do we need? Yes, we probably need more for security, for safety, a few perks. I took Margarita to an Indian restaurant tonight knowing that it will not be anything like what you find in the U.S., since there aren't any Indians here... But, it was something that she really appreciated, something new for her, a little perk, a small luxury. I do the books and know that it's not the greatest idea to throw $350 pesos $30USD into a meal for two. That feeds 4 for almost a week here... But, it made her happy; a relaxed couple thing. Much earlier we stumbled across a tea lounge; something you don't find in Mexico; there was an absolutely wonderful one in Park Slope, Brooklyn... And we paid $80 pesos $7USD for two pots of tea. And she said, "It was like giving yourself a spa, without the cost of the spa..." meaning that, in the middle of a long walk, and also years of limiting ourselves extremely, it was like stumbling upon an oasis with the lounge chairs and the music and the fresh tea flavors and the just relaxing... We may never have our own house, but somehow we've gotta have a healthy relationship and these extras aren't every day.

You want to rent and Margarita wants to stop having to rent. I want to go back 20 years and start over again with the person I learned to be in Mexico; responsible and concerned about getting by. But, I wouldn't be that person had I not met Margarita here in Mexico. I can fantasize about returning to the age of 22 as a much more organized, responsible and concerned young adult. But the truth is that I needed an inspiration for changing. The problem is that here in Mexico it's almost a Lose Lose situation no matter how responsible you are and how much energy you have connected with inspiration. Without a very strong economic base which has so much to do with what family you were born into, it's almost impossible to truly compete in the U.S. middle-class style. I can give you upper middle-class quality food or baked goods. But, I don't have the financial backing for being able to put that business in those communities... And now I am very tired. I've burned myself out, moreso over the past two years with the incredible concern about the insecurity/violence here... At the moment I consider us fortunate to be where/how we are at the moment. 

Oh! And now I know what I wrote about and why... "Americans" get caught up on the belief that the "poor" communities are rich in culture... I thought I would find that in Mexico. I was sure that Mexico was a much more "spiritual" place than the U.S. But, it's just as vacant as the U.S. and worse... without money and access to a better education that nurtures an interest in reading and without money for buying those books, the poor here have less chance of developing a rich culture. Here they exchange all their traditions for garbage food and garbage television programs and garbage clothing... And they don't learn to think and they don't learn to question and they don't learn to care. In fact, it seems that they only care about one thing and that is their "appearances"(physical and socio-political) and if they will have money enough to be able to buy another television or a cell phone with more cell phone games and better speakers for listening to their music and with a video camera built in..., since they just lost their 3rd phone in the past 8 months... Sounds harsh? I've been here almost 9 years and am surprised just how much money is thrown into garbage. I've never bought a television in my life. But how many flat-screen tvs have I seen in poor houses here? My brother-in-laws bought their first cell-phones years before I bought my first one; and for what use? For cellphone games, music and then photographs... 

My ex-roomate Scott visited us with his fiance, now wife, back in 2004. They came to Mexico on a personal photo journalism project and interviewed around 60 families who have sons living and working in New York City. They expected to hear the mothers and the siblings etc say how much they miss the "boys" and how concerned they are for them. Truthfully, it was a  naive point of view of theirs, since the bigger question is Why are do so many Mexicans leave Mexico for the U.S.?  Yes, one would think that with so many Mexicans living in the U.S. there are so many Mexican mothers and siblings with sad faces here in Mexico.  But this is the history of the past 160 years of world immigration to the U.S.  How many Italian mothers and Russian mothers and German mothers and Irish mothers and Chinese mothers etc have suffered the disappearance of their children to the U.S.?  But no one writes about that.  Why not?  Because the bigger story in these and those communities is that now they have family thriving in the U.S.; they have "American" relatives with those perks...

 But, in any case, Scott mentioned that he visited newly constructed houses, many pretty big and pretty modern, constructed with money sent back from the U.S. For the most part, the people didn't know what to do with the space, and lived in those houses as if they were living in the traditional much smaller house. And when asked the question how they felt about their child or brother being so far away from home, the generic response was, "I'm fine. Look at all we have now..." Scott and Laura were horribly disillusioned, just as I am horribly disillusioned. Here, Mexicans complain about the Gringos and the other privileged people of the world. But, the truth is is that what they want most from life is to have the same consumer power as those privileged people. The problem is that no one here cares to make them intellectual/cultural consumers.

Now to talk about Mexican-style consumerism and the ignored health repercussions...

For a moment a bill was passed through the congress and the senate banning soda machines, junk food and candy tables from the public schools, coming into effect in 2013, since 60 percent of the children under the age of 12 are considered obese. Pass by any public school in Mexico and inside the school entrance (inside the school building) greeting the children is a long table piled with candy, Frito-Lay and BIMBO products...manned by housewives who have been given permission to mount their "store"... When you entered Branchburg Central or Somerville High School or Old York School, what did you see? I remember plaques and trophy cases... maybe bulletin boards... But, in Mexico you see these tables... 

Not long after the bills were passed, they were changed and reworked and then tabled. If there wasn't a voting problem in Congress or the Senate, why would they table the bills? Why would they suddenly decide that it was OK that the children were obese and then diabetic as adults? Mexico is #1 in Diabetes in the world. It is also the #1 consumer of Coca Cola products in the world. As I mentioned before, BIMBO is the largest bakery in the world after buying Weston Foods of Canada that was the owner of Wonder. But, BIMBO sells a long line of Hostess style cakes and cookies. The equivalent of the Hostess cupcake now claims to have MORE MILK, as if that is to tell the mothers that it is healthier for their children. Nestle has a monopoly on the purchase of milk in many states of Mexico as it has in the state of Veracruz. Yes, Nestle is better known for its milk products (and coffee products) here in Mexico than it is known for its chocolate products. There was a Nestle Quick commercial showing the mothers how drinking Quick will help their sons grow up to be big and strong... But it doesn't show how they will grow up to be big, fat and diabetic... Nestle picked up on the studies that the raw flesh that covers the coffee bean is high in anti-oxidants (but the raw flesh is removed from the bean and dumped in the second phase of the coffee production process beginning with the harvesting the coffee berries/the fruit of the coffee plant; The coffee pulp isn't even used as organic fertilizer because of its high acid content.  In order for the bean to reach your cup of coffee, it must be removed from the flesh and then it must be removed from the casing.  It is washed and then it is dried.  Finally it is roasted). However, Nestle is marketing Nescafé as having anti-oxidants! Don't eat broccoli or carrots or papaya or swiss chard or or or for anti-oxidants. Drink Nescafé!

 In Mexico, Pepsi loses to Coca Cola hands down. However, it is the proud owner of Frito-Lay, which controlls 85% of the world's junk food production and sales... And, in Mexico, there are at least 50 varieties of Cheetos, "Lays" (called Sabritas in Mexico), Fritos and Doritos to choose from. The child is spell-bound by the new flavors and what to choose from when they enter into the local store. The local family store sells all the varieties of flavored-sweetened waters/sodas, Frito-lay products, BIMBO products and Coca-Cola products and very little of anything else... Then controlling the giant supermarket industry is Wallmart Stores, followed by their Mexican competitors/allies Soriana, Chedraui and Mega; all of these supermarkets displaying purely Frito-Lay, Coca-Cola and BIMBO products. Yes, I'm simplifying this; they sell produce, meat, clothing, household supplies, toys, school supplies, canned sauces and canned vegetable; but who is selling them those goods/what is their place in the international market?  Did you know that Del Monte is from the Yucatan, if I am correct?  How big an enterprise are they?  Don't fool yourself into believing that Mexico and Mexicans are small and poor. 

There are only 2 beer brewing companies in Mexico since they were allowed to absorb all the other popular regional beer brewers; Moctazuma that brews Dos Equis (XX), Indio, and Bohemia, Sol and so many more (if I am correct) and Corona that brews Corona, Negra Modelo, Tecate and so many more. Moctezuma connected with Heinekin and Miller if I'm correct and now is the largest brewer in the world... But, that has nothing to do with the children. However, what connection does that have with the children? Back in July it was announced that just over 40% of Mexicans are alcoholics... By my calculations, that makes almost all adult Mexican males alcoholics... In many cities you see giant drive-through beer cans where you can purchase your liquor while driving. The giant beer cans are called Auto Latas; lata means “can”…  In many of the beer cans there is a small bar for purchasing mixed drinks. In all of the convenience stores, many found at the freeway gas stations, there are walls of refrigerators selling all the brands of cold beer you can imagine. A popular ad on Mexican television takes place at a funeral. The somber comment spoken is, "Death caused by consumption of alcohol, although they didn't ingest one drop..." Seen is the casket of a child being lowered into the grave and the parents crying... But, you must ask, why do they put this ad on the television, if no one restricts the sales and the consumption of liquor?

If anyone, like me, criticizes Mexicans as being thoughtless people without consciousness nor concern for the wellbeing of others, the first thing shoved in my face will be that commercial and all the other propaganda placed in the newspapers and other places stating that the Mexican people and the Mexican government is concerned about the health of their fellow Mexicans; the future of their children... Here there is the argument amongst intellectual university students that the U.S. is one of the #1 contaminators of the environment and that it ignores most of the environmental laws it supposedly promulgates. However, there is very little regulation of the exhaust that comes out of the city buses.  You can see your toilet water dumped into the stream behind your house and watch that stream connect to rivers that dump into the Gulf of Mexico or the Pacific Ocean.  There is a beautiful giant ravine that is the natural boundary of Guadalajara where we are living at the moment.  We went to the nearest park with great views of the ravine and the river that winds through it.  From at least 2 miles away, the white/yellow foam covering the river is clearly seen passing through the lush green forrests that drop down from the mountains... 

4 years ago we were on a beach in Acapulco in the luxury hotel region.  Suddenly people started screaming and running out of the water.  Did someone just spot a shark?  NO!  Raw sewage was suddenly dumped into the ocean from a drainage pipe crossing the beach towards the ocean!  In Acapulco of all places! And, no, we weren't on a luxury vacation.  We were working there, sleeping on the floor of our stand two blocks from the street, bathing in horribly dirty bathrooms in the Convention Center where we had our coffee bar...

Do you want me to write a thesis on anti-Culturalism in Mexico?  Ask me questions and I will pull out my memories...  Do you want photographs of all the bleached blonde Mexicans?  How about the study that came out at least 5 years ago stating that Mexico is in the top 3 countries where their people spend the most money on appearance?  #1 is the U.S. # 2 is Brazil. #3 is Mexico.  Appearance?  What does that signify?  Plastic surgery, Cosmetics, Clothing, hair styling, hair products.  Now, before I learned that Mexico was #12 then #11 then #10 in the list of the the richest of the world’s 196+/- countries, I exclaimed "HOW CAN THAT BE? WHERE DO THEY GET THEIR MONEY?"

Wherever you see a Starbucks in Mexico, you see a coffee bar/cafe more filled than any other coffee bar/café in the town, city or country...  Maybe you would think that they offer discount prices. Our wonderful moca frappucino which has whipped cream costs $30 pesos or $2.50USD.  Their frappuccinos run from $40-55 pesos...  Where do the people get their money?  I've been told that in Monterrey, Mexicans put on suits and ties to go to Starbucks and only speak in English there!  Go to Starbucks in Union Square, New York and check out what the people are wearing...  My point is that here in Mexico people believe that, by going to Starbucks you are making a statement about your class-level/status...  It doesn't matter that the Starbucks coffee in Mexico is horribly flavorless...  Surprised? when in the U.S. (at least when I was last there almost 9 years ago), Starbucks coffee was horribly strong (people claimed that Starbucks burned their beans...) and it generally "short-circuited" my brain.  If I drank it on my way to work I would find myself incapacitated for at least 2 or 3 hours, as if I had been drugged. 

That said, I think I'm going to end this.  And I haven't mentioned what happened with Mexican Traditional crafts/artesans and their wonderful culinary traditions...  speaking of "poor yet wealthy in culture..."

I started re-reading this and forgot to mention how much paperback novels cost here; the going rate is between $220 and $360 pesos ($18 & 30 USD).  How much would you pay for a Kingsolver or Isabel Allende novel?  If you can find those books in a used bookstore, they still sell for between $6-10USD..., at least 3 times more than I would have payed in NYC.  I worked shortly for Random House and learned that they shredded millions of books a year, intentionally; something having to do with politics and pricing.  I could take home all the books I wanted.  They donated books to libraries, but only if the libraries sent them a written request...  SEND THE DAMN BOOKS TO MEXICO! 

Yes, I think I should find myself a nice little rug and learn to meditate.  If I'm fortunate, I'll also learn how to levitate...  Turn off my brain, pull out my eyes...  Maybe I will write a poem similar to that most beautiful one read at the funeral towards the end of "Four Weddings and a Funeral", but, instead of being in memory of a beautiful man and friend (or lover of the author reading the poem) it will be in memory of human consciousness and "soul"...  But I don't believe it ever truly existed.  That's the story of Moses; the story of Jesus of Nazareth...  They seeking to guide the people away from the shallow abyss of materialism to a more concerned, more responsible, more profound consciousness of their relationship with themselves, others and with the world...

Did you like "The Last Temptation of Christ"? and the possibilities the Greek Author (who grew up very Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholic) offers; he claims that he was  very religious and read everything connected with the bible.  But questions kept arrising in his mind; connected with certain biblical contradictions and certain inprobabilities.  The questions nagged him so much that he ended up writing "The Last Temptation of Christ".  I like the idea that Jesus and Mary Magdeline were married and had kids... and that Jesus never truly died...

How about José Saramago's "The Gospel According to Christ"?  He was a poor peasant farmer's son in Spain.  He became a Nobel Prize winning author...  It's really an incredible book.  The idea is very impressive.  The message is mind-blowing; a bit existential.  God and the "Devil" play games with humans in the name of justifying their (God and the Devil) existence...  The people need something new in order to continue believing in God.  So, God creates Jesus.  But, Jesus must die, because "no one" should compete with God's powers.  Plus, Jesus must die for people to believe in him...  Mary Magdalene truly loved Jesus.  Jesus became overly confident and self-righteous.  But she always loved him...

Now, I don't believe in the Devil.  I believe that God is the God of both the "good" and the "bad".  God is the God of all experience necessary for you and I to learn and grow as spirits. 

I believe that there are many "saints" and living "angels" and passionate "Jesus"es and many very sensitive and overly conscious and intelligent people (many of them "mentally ill") who could also become a Jesus... For me, Jesus was a prophet-type person.  Someone who was moved by an uncontrollable need to right the immediate world of its "problems", its contradictions/hypocracies...  But, the world does not truly want to be righted...  We are selfish, greedy, short-sighted, inconsiderate, intentionally ignorant increasingly bored and fearful materialist parasites who only think about the immediate craving and the fear of not being able to sate tomorrow's craving... 

You... Practice yoga, meditate, commune with the earth and the plants and nature and love what is natural; a gift to you from life or from the Earth and practice being thoughtful and considerate and the healthiest person possible and nurture your son and your relationships and the people you love.