Friday, August 31, 2012

Infusion For Reflecting on a Blue Moon Kind of Day


A Blue Moon, any way you cut the definitions, is an unusual occurrence.  

Tonight’s Blue Moon is the second occurrence for this calendar year, and we won’t have another until 2015!

I say: if a Blue Moon is an unusual occurrence, then this should be cause for a celebration!

However, let’s not make it a loud, raucous party. Perhaps, instead, the Blue Moon could be treated as an unusual opportunity to take time out for reflection, relaxation and rejuvenation. Maybe a cuppa will be just the thing for you!

An Infusion for a Blue Moon

Equal Parts blended in a tea ball or loose in the bottom of your teapot:

BASIL leaves– stimulates mental clarity, concentration and memory
LEMON BALM leaves – a simple sedative, mood elevator works well with other herbs
LAVENDER leaves and buds – stimulates memory, helps with headaches
ROSE flowers or buds– soothing on the nerves
ROSEMARY leaves and flowers – both stimulates and calms the system, standard infusion
SPEARMINT or CATNIP leaves – restorative, stimulant, fuel the imagination
SAGE leaves – a calming restorative, lowers blood pressure

Prepare as a standard infusion, steeping your desired mixture of these herbs and flowers in boiled water for 15 to 20 minutes, 32 measures water to 1 measure of the infusion mixture. Pull out the tea ball or strain the infusion into your favorite mug. Sweeten or not, as you like. A bit of lemon juice might be lovely, if you choose.

What makes this infusion blue for a Blue Moon is the blue flower of rosemary and the blue bud of lavender.

Sit back in a comfortable chair, sip the infusion. Listen to soothing music or to the silence that surrounds you. Let calm and silence fill you. Let your brain and body feel refreshed.

And then, let your mind wander in focused memory and reflection. Be filled by your experience of this gift you are giving to yourself.

You know I am not a doctor, so any information I have to offer is not a prescription, but a soothing recipe.

Peace be with and in you! 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

What I Wouldn't Give


Though we’ve never met,
we meet constantly

—In my dreams before waking,
in my waking thoughts,
in the sparkle on bay water
that blinds my senses

In the rare moment of quiet,
I apprehend the simplicity
of your great magnitude,
so near, we should be touching—

Yet, there is no need,
for we are, by near and far,
flexibly and inextricably
inlaid upon one another,
a complex, shared mosaic
of music and spirit,
tumbling into bits
and reforming
amid and among
the indelible, ineffable all.

What I wouldn’t give
to be face to face,
blinded by your beauty.

But I would not survive
the unraveling it would take
to get to where you are Now.

I am, you are,
and we together are us—

And, for the love of Now,
that will have to do.

© 2012 by Elisabeth T. Eliassen

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Collaborations

for my twins and all twins everywhere
About connections and intersections,
we have learned very little,
but they are everything;
without them, there would be no life.

Is there something somewhere else?
No, it is all right here, right now,
waiting for you to choose,
waiting for you to act.

The magic place is here and now,
the alchemy is in the meetings,
—sacred ground is everywhere,
tread with courage, care and smiles.

Those who say “self-made” are lost;
no one goes alone in this place
it is how we meet and greet and treat
the faces we encounter each day.

See what is before you, recognize
yourself in every time and place,
and know that all others share
experience no different from yours.

All things will change and pass,
you and all beings will change,
we shall all be changed
—but not our comings and goings.

On our meetings we are tested,
day in week in years past lustrum,
in our meetings we are judged,
not in what we have or know.

Be into being and being with,
the quality of life lies in being with
and well within with and in each,
with all the best regards possible.

When you can see yourself
in another, in and by giving,
you will know the magic place
is your heart meeting others.

We must learn to be well met
in our connections and intersections;
meeting and being met is everything
to know and experience of life.

© 2012 by Elisabeth T. Eliassen

Monday, August 27, 2012

Creation


Sorting,
endlessly sorting
through endless strands of thought,
thickly tangled as they are,
as they would be,
among convoluted perceptions
and all cognitive mechanisms
beyond my awareness.

Sorting endlessly,
--like hacking through jungle growth
with a blunt machete--
it can be easy to forget
how close you really are,
in the farthest away unseen,
and with the twilight
and light’s fatigue
drawing us all inward toward repose,
I feel you near again,
and remember:

These strands we’ve spun,
together, you and I,
and we shall weave them
on your gold and silver loom,
through my night of dreaming;
we shall weave them into dawn.

© 2012 by Elisabeth T. Eliassen

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Storm Eye Witness


From a troubled sea, I came;
From the tumult of my crashing waves,
longing for relief from my raging storm,
I came from a troubled sea.

Greeted by no berceuse
in this port from my storm,
instead by ringing and singing,
a laughing and crying and carrying on
about out and in relationships, on and off
emotions, pitching sonic waves and weavings,
an undulating web of rattling words in herds,
like the very waves I’d fled.

Troubled seeing, I became
witness to my world and wavering,
aware now that my dreams and waking
must be born of a troubled sea.

What started with prayerful hopes
ended with praying and awaking to active now;
I went up to thank them, to thank her and she,
but she conferred further blessing.

“You brought calm,” said she,
“having you here was calming,
like an anchor for our tossed ship,”
and from her I received kisses,
as though I had been the gift.

Thus anointed, I turned away,
thoughtfully moved to my return:
Eye of the Storm, I seem to be,
though storm-tossed I had felt;
calm came with me in my pocket,
along with my keys, my hanky and tears,
and fragments of hope and place
—and I never knew it was there.

I have had eyes, but did not see,
ears, but they did not hear—until now:
when you become the Eye of the Storm,
calm comes to be a friend and guest of your heart,
to share in the love, the pain and the laughter,
the onward, spiraling music of your being.

© 2012 by Elisabeth T. Eliassen


Updated 8/28/12:



Most of you don't know this, but my poetry is my diary. I sometimes write infrequently, but when I do write, it is to crystalize an experience that stands out and apart from the everyday. Music often inspires me. This particular poem was inspired by a performance of new chamber music in San Francisco by CMASH (an acronym for Chamber Music Art Song Hybrid). It was a wonderful performance! The lesson here: Art Inspires More Art!!! Find out about the wonderful people who make music happen at CMASH, and how you might even make a donation, by following the link. http://www.cmashmusic.org/

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Slipping Along


Paddles dip softly,
fanning circles out,
canoe slips along
over lily pads
through silken waters.

Draw in, hold steady,
let the ducks float by;
the rings and ripples
of your movement
will fade in the mirror.

Centered in quiet,
centered in peace,
away from words
pressing in torrents,
begging for shallow response—

Here is respite from noise,
a place of reflection
on no mere surface tensions,
but inviting greater depth,
welcome, if unfamiliar.

© 2012 by Elisabeth T. Eliassen

Friday, August 24, 2012

Current Events


Eventful, today;
not much else to say,
except that—little by little—we slip away,
but maybe that’s okay.

Voices, loudly they cry;
“Choices,” they proclaim, “buy!”

Fruits of summer
winter in discontent;
smart suits are dumber,
tinder for wildfire foment.

Voices, quietly they sigh;
invoices quell the buy-high.

From inane to insane,
rinse, repeat and remain.

Maybe it’s okay
that we slip away
when truths known no longer hold sway
with those who have the say.

© 2012 by Elisabeth T. Eliassen

The statistics for our National GNP (gross national product) can only be generated by our purchases. We can only purchase when we have jobs and income. We can only have jobs and income if the corporations that earn the GNP open up the job market to a wider audience. Policy makers don't see this as a reality that needs to be faced; they continue to make policy based on the notion that their jobs depend on the support of corporate lobbies, not on the wider audience of potential purchasing public. The policies made by policy makers allow corporations and their talking-head-suits to abuse the working classes of the world, workers here and abroad, so that they can control more money with fewer workers (or cheaper off-shore labor). The result is economic stagnation. Policy makers know this, but refuse to do anything but pander to the corporate lobbies. Privatization has driven the cost of everything upward, even though the quality of what we are buying (think education) is substantially less. "They" tell us the costs are greater, after "they" said that business could do it all better and for less. This is the new definition of "less is more." If that weren't bad enough, out and out fraud is committed, throughout all industries, unchecked, unabated, unregulated. Seems to be a national insanity, for which there is no cure.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Austerity For ALL!

There has been a great deal of political talk about security in this century. Growth is the security of organic life. The security of the imagination lies in calling, all our lives, for more liberty, more rebellion, more belief.  
 - Muriel Rukeyser
Men may lack vocabularies, but men in danger share more thoughts than they are given credit for, because they share the same dilemma. Let death draw near, and all men gathered together in twos or threes cease to be shy in their discussion either of it or of life. No school of philosophy can boast a better teacher than peril, when it approaches at a pace lively enough to be contemplated. 
- John Mason Brown


I must say that I find the political stance of conservatives, worldwide, quite amusing. 

The idea that there must be austerity, in these times of world financial crisis, might make sense if the austerity was intended for each, according to their ability. Strangely, the austerities are only meant to be experienced by those people who already experience austerity; the austerity that threatens to be meted out does not cut in all directions. The same breath that proclaims austerity for the rest of us also says that the wealthy should not be taxed, if we want the wealthy to invest in the economy, to create jobs. 

How could anyone believe such rubbish--this is the very thinking, championed by Reaganites and Thatcherites, who double-teamed it to deregulate and privatize, that ultimately led to the disaster we are all trying to live through now. 

The Third World War, in essence, has arrived! It is characterized by a the complete abandonment of any notion of collective endeavor, by which all might be raised up. Can any of you remember when it was a goal to end hunger? Instead, what we have is an overall sense of shameless individualism. Drill, Baby, Drill! is the shrill cry from Wall Street and The City. Think not what I can do to help you build your investment portfolio, but what I can do to fleece you! The environment be damned, I want you to drive your old beater until fossil fuels are but a memory. This shameless and amoral attitude is not limited to investment companies, insurance companies, the banking industry and corporate manufacturing; the Pod People have taken over your unions, your municipal governments, your primary, secondary and higher education systems, your political parties, your government buildings. Moreover, we have been trained to the idea that equal opportunity toward materialism, toward having (of the same rather than the unique) is synonymous with freedom.

Let's face it: bankrupt politics and policies, promulgated by politicians that have been bought by the so-called "Free Market," are bankrupting our municipalities, the very places that need infrastructure and job development, and passing the costs of bankruptcy on to you and to me.

Career politicians, so far removed from what actual people have to deal with in the world that their bankrupt policies created, dole out clich├ęs from the Reagan/Thatcher playbook, and expect us all to pay their salaries, not to mention their pensions and their healthcare. There is no austerity for them, and neither for their masters. Our politicians are willing puppets, because the system they steward feeds them. This is why the so-called "bipartisan" political realm looks and acts like a circus. 

We are, to a greater extent, unwilling puppets. The blame has been put to us, for electing these very officials. I submit that this is yet another case of "blaming the victim," but I concede that there is an element of truth to the assertion. Where is the truth of it? Well, when our economies shifted, in the wake of deregulation that paved the way, from manufacturing to finance (along with it's ugly twin real estate development), the attitude shifted from fiduciary responsibility to unfettered greed. There has been another economic shift, however--one just as devastating. 

The shift has gone hand-in-hand with the move from manufacturing to finance, and it has been fueled by the very technologies that have given birth to social networking, fostering elitism and bolstering a false sense of individualism, one that values the one-line chat quip or the anonymous reactionary rant over a stimulating discussion of actual values between people who stand face-to-face in order to work together.

How can this be? The very medium that has seemed to offer greater democratic action for average people, in such movements as "The Arab Spring," have been used by their creators and primary corporate manipulators, the gatekeepers, as it were, of a worldwide system of corruption.

Does my statement mean that I am a morbid conspiracy theorist? No, not at all, not at all. I may be reading history a certain way, but it is history that I am reading, and the indicators have been hiding in plain sight. I need go no further than the recent and continuing Murdoch Hacking Scandal. Who was Tony Blair serving, while visiting Murdoch in Queensland? Was he serving the British Public or was he serving Rupert Murdoch? He has testified that Murdoch was attempting to pressure members of Parliament to call off the investigation. What does this mean for the public, wherever Murdoch media enterprises exist? It means nothing less than that influence of the filthy rich cuts in on your free speech, not to mention your expectation of privacy or truth in reporting/advertising.

Social media allows us to communicate internationally--as long as political forces don't censor the internet, as in China, Cuba, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, and other countries. Interestingly enough, most of the countries that sensor the internet have repressive governments. The other end of the spectrum is the Murdoch variety, where the internet so free it is mined for information that is used to make money, and possibly ruin lives. On the one hand, there is the hyper-regulation of closed-government, on the other, the unprotected world of deregulation and the so-called "open" government "free market" fracas. In both cases, the people in control are people of power and wealth, people with no self-control, who are all too willing to tell you how to live, just so long as they don't have to live that way themselves.

Additionally, the internet is also used to fuel identity politics. With our good intentions, many of us seek to establish greater freedoms and foster choice for all. We sign up with groups that claim to be for the purpose of activism toward the social values we say we desire. But then these groups tell us how to think and how to act and how to vote. Unwittingly, we have allowed ourselves to become pawns in what ends up being an identity politics smokescreen. Someone else writes the letter, we just click the button.  Sorry to burst the bubble, but that really isn't how democracy works. 

Obviously, equal rights and social justice should be for all, but the way it plays out, sometimes it seems as though rights and justice are for some, even few, rather than for all. While we are all arguing identity politics, war crimes are being committed all over the world, by ours and perhaps every government. People in all parts of the world are being abused and denied access to food, shelter, clean water. But because we are bickering about how one kind is either oppressed or even entitled over another kind, we don't see the larger issue, that we are all being oppressed and used, if not abused and denied. And we are all guilty of denying that humanity is one kind and that all are entitled.

In short, for the "freedom" to "share" our thoughts, we pay. We pay in the way our every move is documented and analyzed for what we do, who we like, how we live, how we spend, so that we can be objectified in the morass of unfettered materialistic capitalism that aggregation feeds. We pay, and we will pay until there is nothing left to pay with.

There is nothing left to say about this, except that fools and their money are soon parted. Do you resemble that remark? I know that I do, and I suspect that you do, as well. Not always by choice is this true.

Remember this during the upcoming election season, particularly when some talking-head tells you that you need to be austere in your spending (what little you have) for the good of everyone and that public programs should be sacrificed for the good of the system. That is one horse the talking-heads will ride. And then they'll attempt to ride another, at the same time, and you know what that will be. 

If austerity is the solution, then austerity must be for ALL--one for all and all for one (--or it should be for no one)!! No more bond issues to grease the wheels of a few, no more tax breaks to business entities and moguls with offshore accounts, no more municipal shell games with taxpayer money, no more bailouts to banks who run citizens into bankruptcy with service-charges, and no more of all the rest, while denying basic needs to those who have been ground down in the fallout of World War III, the invisible war declared on you and on me.

If we believe that what we think matters, we need to read more (to be better informed), we need to talk more (not merely exchange chat quips and tweets), we need to rise up on our hind legs and declare ourselves to be active members, all for one and one for all, against the bipartisan circus act that will keep telling us we have to pay the price for their bad and self-interested, self-perpetuating policies.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Support Your Local Arts Organizations


If you live in a metropolitan area, anywhere in the world, you likely have the opportunity to enjoy museums, dance and music of all types. Some of the venues are big; the arts organizations that use those venues are generally large and possessed of budgets to match.  

There are hundreds, even thousands of arts organizations that do not appear in large venues, do not have large budgets. 

Most of these groups are non-profit organizations.

Ticket sales typically cover less than half of the cost to put on even the lowest budget production.

In these depression-recessionary times, people are cautious about making donations. Fewer people attend art events. There are more non-profit arts organizations competing for fewer grants. Patronage is still available for artists and arts organizations through the National Endowment for the Arts and other agencies, but there is a disproportionate number of needy artists and arts organizations in need, as compared to the funds actually available at a national level. This means very few organizations that apply will actually receive a grant.

What many people don't realize is that many small donations can make a big difference in the life of an arts organization. Micro-giving is no joke, but is the very latest technical innovation in arts organization financing.

I am associated with a number of struggling and worthy arts organizations, and while I won’t monetize this blog for my own benefit, I will use this space to help others, from time to time.

One of the many worthy organizations that could use your financial help is San Francisco Renaissance Voices, a professional mixed-voice ensemble dedicated to performing and exploring the a cappella choral music of the Renaissance particularly lesser-known and rarely-performed works, as well as exploring music from this period outside of the traditional European canon.

This wonderful singing group is having a very tight time financially this summer and needs seed money to get the wonderful season of music they have planned off to a start.

As unbelievable as it may seem, you could help by contributing to this group’s Micro-Giving Campaign by donating just $5, $10 or $20. You can donate electronically at


or if you want to write a check make it to "SFRV" and send to:  SFRV, SAPC - 1329 Seventh Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94122.

You could become a patron of the arts for just a few dollars!

I appeal to you, my wonderful readers, in appreciation that the arts and social media offer the opportunity to change lives in creative and positive ways.

Give now, for art's sake!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Unintended Consequences


A constant challenge,
being among the upright
while the world lies,
axis tangent confronted,
as horizon.

It is a myth
that things rise or fall
in accordance with principles
mathematical and scientific,
on trajectories discernable.

Happening is
the experience of nature,
opportunity for constant trial,
practice without perfect,
being as exercise.

There is no futility;
all is intended
to confound and perplex,
in gains, losses and entailments,
along the shifting sands of possibility.

© 2012 by Elisabeth T. Eliassen