Tag Archives: nature

The Cosmic Commune

Intellectual property of
katharineotto
* independent country of one  *
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(Updated, March, 2016)

The COSMIC IMPROV GROUP (CIG) lives in the COSMIC COMMUNE, which exists outside time and space but contains it all.  In the Cosmic Commune, everything is free, and money doesn’t exist. People and other life forms work because they like it.  Inhabitants of the Cosmic Commune come and go at will, catching my attention or imagination on the fly.  A few members offer their perspectives below:

coscomchar0316COCKROACH THINKING – Friday, January 12, 2007 – I feel like a cosmic secretary, the writer who is busy transcribing the Cosmic Improv Group’s take on humanity, like a cockroach, with antennae ever quivering, wanting nothing other than to feed off debris and live in peace, like it was before God decided we weren’t entertaining enough by ourselves.
So She invented people a couple of minutes ago – by the way cockroaches measure time. People have this attitude that they are better than cockroaches, so they poison themselves thinking they’re beating back the insects, not realizing they are indirectly increasing insect food supply.
Do I claim special powers for reading an insect’s mind, or the mass mind of the insect population?
No. I claim common sense. Who is most susceptible to these poisons – especially in the long term? If you poison the ecosystem from the ground up, you will suffer a slow, agonizing, death.

COMMUNISTIC CAPITALISM – Sunday, February 11, 2007 – I am the ultimate communist in the communal sense, a true capitalist, in the individual one. Shared resources go further and spread responsibility. Private resources, earned and maintained, grow in direct proportion to the individual’s personal investment.
Capitalists with a communistic spirit understand voluntary community involvement keeps taxes low and government within boundaries. In true communistic capitalism, public and private balance out such that each supports the other without taxing anyone unfairly.

fungusdb0107DEAD BODY FUNGUS
Friday, January 19, 2007 – Day before yesterday, just before it rained, I took pictures and dug up some extraterrestrial-looking fungi that smelled like decomposing flesh.     Hauled in with some of the wood chips from a tree trimming job, these loopy cage-like structures were up to 10 cm (four inches) high.
The four orange arms were spongy and fell apart to the touch. They were joined at the top to house an inner sanctum of oozy black and white jelly.
They smelled like dead animals rotting. The stench carries a long way, so it took awhile to find the source. I dug up about 25 liters (seven gallons) of the things, along with their unhatched, subterranean eggs. Yes, their unsprouted pods look like soft, mushy eggs, gel-like, maybe a turtle’s egg. They were repulsive, though interesting. I dumped them in the river, vaguely wondering if I were poisoning it.
I looked for references in various books but saw nothing like them. I wondered if they are mutants. They are the same color as the plastic tree marker tags used in timbering. (Later found them in the National Audobon Society’s Field Guide to Mushrooms. They are “Columned Stinkhorns, “Clathrus columnatus”.)
Maybe they are derived from plastic breakdown products, think I. Maybe all these plastic breakdown products and other environmental toxins have created a food supply for mutant life forms and works of art like this. Born of landfill, looks like landfill, smells like landfill, feeds off landfill?
In our minute human existence, as science explains it, and our dominant role, as religion explains it, we have only lasted longer than the mutant life forms we are creating. Does this mean we are the culmination of life, God’s glowing masterpiece, her raison d’etre, her creative life work?
If so, God is suicidal. The poisons accumulating in the air, water, and earth provide a much greater threat than the so-called “greenhouse gases,” the hot air exhaled and farted out by political scientists.

LIZARDO – Saturday, January 6, 2007 – A young lizard, only about 10 cm long, has showed himself on my deck railing over the past few months. Lizardo just greeted me briefly and now has disappeared vertically.
Lizards take crawling on vertical planes for granted, as if it were normal. There he is again, facing downward about a meter, with no apparent fear of falling ten times the distance of his length. For a human, this would be fatal, or at least damaging, but not for a lizard.
So what’s so smart about human beings if they can’t do things that are easy for lizards and birds? Humans probably learned from birds that flying is possible. And insects. And they learned from fish, maybe, that you can swim.

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WIND AND THE COSMIC IMPROV GROUP – Thursday, February 1, 2007 – The wind has started, signifying qi movement, unblocking my imagination. It makes me jittery and insecure, unsure where the wind will take me.
The Cosmic Improv Group speaks through the wind. “Relax,” it whispers. “The qi is restless and moving. You are being swept in the winds of the moment, and you need do nothing except allow yourself to flow with it. You are fine, but for your own uneasiness. We will not allow you to fail.”
Wanna bet? is my first thought. We’ll see about that.
This gives everyone a chuckle.
“This isn’t about you,” says the ever-so-practical CIG. “This is about the larger plan. No matter what you do, you are part of it. How you do it is up to you.”
I’ve been thinking of the peace the Americas knew before the Europeans arrived. The North American Indians touched the soil lightly, leaving few traces. They left fewer monuments behind, perhaps a sign of the greater tribute they paid to nature. The Europeans thought them savages, yet history has proved the opposite. The most peaceful and honest people are the most gullible, so are easily tricked and exploited.
I don’t know why. Because it appears to work, from the warring and slaving point of view? The bullies and cons who believe they win by treating others so cruelly? Reading Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, and Cuba:  A New History have deepened my questions and profoundly disturbed my beliefs about religion and the atrocities committed in its name.
The promises of later rewards prevent balancing today’s books, but the accumulated debt from centuries of religious persecution weighs heavily now.
Do people get their just deserts when they pass on? What might those be?
This is a non-issue for me. Behavior in the present predicts future behavior, unless something changes it. If you don’t practice your beliefs in the present, how can you know what you truly believe?

UNIFIED FIELD THEORY – Tuesday, February 13, 2007 – The dark, plutonian forces are mere pawns in my hands, in the strategy of life.
Why? I believe in qi, that’s why. Life force, the great, universal energy field that Einstein couldn’t fathom, because he took life for granted.
The great organizing energy force – life – defies entropy, the second law of thermodynamics. Modern science assumes that matter and consciousness are separate, merely because man does not speak the language of matter, or of animals, or of other manifestations of the divine.
To assume that consciousness is based on size or presumed status in the cosmos is merely man’s hubris at work. The Cosmos will live on; man has a choice.

INTERNET – Wednesday, July 4, 2007 – The internet may be the most freeing concept to come along in quite a while, maybe leading to a real democracy. I believe this is the secret fear of the control freaks, who are terrified of the technology that has grown beyond their control. Poor Bill Gates.
I am a witch doctor, self-immolating at the stake, lighting my own fire, using the rubbish under my feet to fuel a revolution in consciousness that proves victory over death.
Let’s all burn together, shall we? If I go up in flames, I’ll take you with me, and we’ll see how you flare in the great beyond. It’s not so bad, once you rise above the smoke and ashes.
If my job in life is to wake people up, as it seems to be, I will use the tools at my disposal to accomplish the task.  By pondering later, and by writing in my journal, I reinforce the lessons learned in day-to-day routine. Those with high emotional valence hover in my aura, and I use the energy to reinforce the message on etheric planes.
Since science refuses to recognize the validity of this technique, it puts me at an advantage, and I can communicate with higher selves beyond limiting beliefs. Thus do I communicate with the higher selves of people whose lower selves dominate the daily news.
We all are good guys, according to Seth (of Jane Roberts’ “Seth” series), and I believe it. I always have felt kindly towards mankind, who is doing the best he can, despite appearances. Seth simply reinforces my inner knowing. It’s hard to find people, these days, who admit to man’s good intent. The “us vs. them” mentality predominates. The nation’s spokespeople talk about conflict versus compromise, but nobody mentions cooperation.

 

bumpsuptroops0408

TV AND LOUD BAD MUSIC  – Monday, March 26, 2007 – I spoke with the cashier at Piggly Wiggly, and asked if anyone complains about the loud bad music and insulting ads for the Pig. No, she says. Is it too loud?
I’m leaving, I say, but you have to listen to it all day. I mention TV as mind pollution that manipulates people by their fears and insecurities. I don’t have a television, I say. I’m a reader. She seems amazed I don’t have a TV.
Smart lady, she comments, when I say I read. Trying to get smarter every day, I reply, or so I remember it.
Karl Marx said religion is the opiate of the masses. Now TV is the opiate, and people are dulled by it into a stupor of style over substance that blocks inner wisdom.

LIFE PHILOSOPHY – Sunday, June 10, 2007 – How have things come so far? I wonder at the progression through the centuries of virtues gone sour. Literature reeks of the lonely and bored, the violent, thieving, misguided, downtrodden. Even the moneyed are miserable. Happiness is illusion, and those who get a glimpse of it are quickly punished.
How strange, think I. Everyone uses the right words, and for a long time, I believed them. I have taken lots of heat for my unwillingness to compromise on principle. It makes me suspect and dangerous, a threat to be ignored when possible, trounced when necessary. People treat me with studied indifference, if they notice at all.
I try to reconcile my observations with Seth’s teachings. He speaks my beliefs and carries them further, a refreshing oasis in the emotional desert that my life has become.
You create your own reality, he says, and the universe is cooperative. Humanity has a spiritual problem, he says.
We are burning in the fires of hell, I claim, resigned to the idea that it will only get worse, thus creating the future we fear, so invested are we in being right. I feel like an alien among humans, more attuned to the animals and plants than people.
Animal wisdom consists of the innocent amorality man has forgotten. Man funnels god through religion, not recognizing true religion is merely applied common sense. People are more likely to be nice to you if you are nice to them, honest if you are honest, kind if you are kind. At least that’s the theory, but lately I’ve doubted that. Lately, it seems these are invitations for abuse, and it has made me insecure and afraid. Thus am I becoming more withdrawn, self-contained, and reclusive.
The Cosmic Improv Group tells me it’s okay. It provides balance, an opportunity to recharge my spiritual batteries, by giving of myself where it’s appreciated, watering plants, feeding birds, hugging my cat.

BUBBLES GO UP – Wednesday, July 4, 2007 – Seth makes an interesting comment about belief systems involving the sexes. He says women represent humanity’s creative, intuitive side. I believe this is the message of the Garden of Eden story: humanity’s awareness of itself and its creative ability. The fear of consciousness has led people to sap women’s strength through childbirth.
And along comes lil ole me. If you think a man is going to save you from yourselves, ladies, you have another think coming. Look at what men have done so far, and tell me if you want more of the same.
Don’t blame the men, because mothers raised them to disrespect women. No one is exempt from the groupthink, the mindless polarization that has tilted the planet so far off balance.
Edgar Cayce referred to a polar axis shift, a reversal of north to south, perhaps, but it’s not clear. What would that mean, if the lines of magnetic force were reversed? Would it turn our thinking upside down? We do have iron in our red blood cells, after all.
If the magnetic poles were reversed, who would know it first? Maybe this is why highway signs and directions are so confused. Nobody knows which way is up.
Like being in deep water, you only know by watching the bubbles.

budsleep0395BUD THE AWAKENER – Wednesday, July 4, 2007 – I sometimes fantasize that I am destined to be The Awakener. Pretty funny, that, as I sit eating chocolate chips and walnuts, drinking coffee, writing whatever comes to mind.
Hahahahaha, think I. What a joke. Me the Awakener? My cat, maybe. He wakes me up, did this morning. Then he goes back to sleep and sleeps all day.
The Awakener by delegated authority? “You do it,” he implies by his attitude. “I’ll lie here on the ledge, semi-conscious, and wish you luck. You’ll need it.”
Little white angel that he is. An angel of punk, pierced ear and all. The punk angel, disguised as a cat, mute, directs by mind melding, without flicking a whisker. Open my window, he says without saying. Feed me. Play with me. Love me. You’re doing better. Keep up the good work. Clean the gunk out of my eyes, but do it gently, or I’ll hurt you.
Even angels in bodies can feel pain, and fear, so don’t rush me. Physical bodies are sensate, better to materialize beliefs and their consequences. Feel your pain. Heal your pain by changing your beliefs, your actions, or both.
Mental and physical pain go together. Anyone who has a neck has a mind-body connection.

 

Eat dirt. You’ll feel better.

camellia1016

So suggest some researchers into eco-therapy, a trendy new concept that has doctors writing prescriptions for spending time in a park. While they don’t specifically recommend eating dirt (a pathological condition known generally as “pica”), they do say the soil contains mood-enhancing micro-organisms that enhance happy-making brain chemicals, such as serotonin.

The star of current research is the benign Mycobacterium vaccae, a micro-organism found in soil and discovered to enhance serotonin levels in mice.  Serotonin is the neurotransmitter du jour in psychotropic medications like Prozac and is known for its ability to alleviate depression and anxiety. (Mayer, et al.  “Gut Microbes and the Brain:  Paradigm Shift in Neuroscience”. The Journal of Neuroscience. 12 November 2014, 34(46))

I practiced eco-therapy long before science discovered it. I’ve been a river rat since childhood.  After leaving home, I wound up in New York, but two years of noise, bad smells, pollution, too much concrete and pavement drove me to the opposite extreme—the mountains of Colorado– in 1977.  After some bouncing around, I moved to another big city, Atlanta, in 1992 for career training and lived there three years.  I spent all my free time in the back yard, planting flowers.  Because of the garden, the house sold for much more than the realtor believed I could get.  So my eco-therapy was financially rewarding, too.

deer0116

I spent too many years after that working in offices, often with no windows or with windows fronting on parking lots, and missing the best part of the day outside. Now retired and living on the old family homestead, I spend as much time as possible outside, scratching in the dirt with my chickens, and surrounded by the greens and blues of nature.  I’ve always liked the smell of earth, and now science is telling me why.

The scientific community is discovering what humans have instinctively known forever. In “The Nature Cure:  Why some doctors are writing prescriptions for time outdoors,” by James Hamblin, MD (Atlantic magazine, October, 2015) tells of the emerging “eco-therapy” concept. Dr. Hamblin writes of the M. vaccae. He also references a UK study showing physical activities in natural versus “artificial” environments, induced less anger, fatigue, and sadness.  Another study found that patients recovering from gall bladder surgery fared better if they were in rooms facing trees instead of a wall.

“The Nature Cure” also cites research that says people are attracted to and feel restored by looking at images of nature, especially savannas, slow-moving water, foliage, and “birds or other unthreatening wildlife.”

marshpool1015

Since then, I’ve stumbled on similar articles about the healthful and mood-enhancing effects of nature in Yes! magazine and Mother Earth News.  The winter, 2016 issue of Yes! is devoted to creating a “culture of good health.”  In “The Curious Case of the Antidepressant, Anti-anxiety Backyard Garden,” family practitioner Dr. Daphne Miller says “It’s well-established that the microbes in soil enhance the nutritional value of food and, as found in studies of farm children in Bavaria and among the Indiana Amish, improve immune function.  (Researchers were finding that exposure to a diversity of microbes early in life led to fewer allergies.)”

Dr. Miller states we need a diversity of organisms found in animals, plants, soil, water, and air for optimal functioning of our immune and nervous systems. She laments the modern practice of crop monoculture and use of pesticides and herbicides, which all deplete soil of micro-organism diversity.

Finally, “Nature Really Does Make Us Happy,” by Eva M. Selhub and Alan C. Logan, in the December, 2015/January, 2016 issue of Mother Earth News, takes a slightly different tack.  Here, behavioral scientist Roger S. Ulrich is given credit for the original research on gall-bladder patients.  He is also given credit for a landmark 1979 study on stressed students.  He showed them images of nature scenes and cities.  “The nature scenes increased positive feelings of affection, playfulness, friendliness and elation.  Urban views, on the other hand, significantly cultivated one emotion . . . sadness.  Viewing nature tended to reduce feelings of anger and aggression, and urban scenes tended to increase these feelings.  Also, seeing natural landscapes was associated with increased production of serotonin,” say the article’s authors.

pecanmoss

Other studies cited in the Mother Earth News article indicated elderly inhabitants of a residential care center in Texas had lower levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) when in a garden rather than a classroom.  The presence of plants, particularly flowering ones, in a room can reduce stress caused by an emotional video.  In Taiwan, rural farm scenes produced higher alpha-wave activity, particularly in the right brain.   Alpha-waves are associated with peaceful states of mind.  Forest scenes and natural water scenes also decrease heart-rate.  In Japan, forest walks reduced cortisol levels.  Forest walks are also credited with reducing depression and hostility, while increasing vigor and improving sleep.

Norwegian research shows that having a plant near or within view of a work station significantly reduces the amount of sick leave workers take. Japanese research adds that greening high-school classrooms with potted plants significantly reduces students’ visits to the infirmary.  Nature scenes fired up opioid receptors in subjects’ brains, imaged by fMRI in California.  Endogenous (produced by the body) opioids reduce perception of stress, enhance emotional bonding, and decrease brooding over negative memories.  Urban scenes were found in Korea to activate the amygdala, a part of the brain associated with anger and fear.  Chronic stress and cortisol may promote activity in the amygdala, which selectively prioritizes memorization of negative experiences and events.

So there you have it. My take-home message is to escape as often as possible the boxes where we live, drive, and work, and to enjoy the health-sustaining multi-dimensionality of the great outdoors.

chpointriver0815

Photos, top to bottom:  Camellia;  White-tailed deer;  Trees and marsh;  Pecan tree with Spanish moss; Moon River at high tide.

Folk Art, USA

Yard art from Gallery by the Sea, Tybee Island, GA

Yard art from Gallery by the Sea, Tybee Island, GA, 2015

Folk art, Telluride, Colorado, 2003

Folk art, Telluride, Colorado, 2003

Interstate Ladies' Room art, somewhere in Texas, 2003

Interstate Ladies’ Room art, somewhere in Texas, 2003

Yard art, Milan, MI, 1996

Yard art, Milan, MI, 1996

Clothing Art, Bernard K. Jenkins, "Role Model," Savannah, GA 2006

Clothing art, Bernard K. Jenkins, “Role Model,” Savannah, GA 2006

Folk art, a dedication to Sandfly, Georgia's African-American history, 2003

Folk art, a dedication to Sandfly, GA, a 200 year old African-American neighborhood trampled by a parkway and Wal-Mart, 2003

Sidewalk art, from the Savannah College of Art and Design sidewalk art show in Forsyth Park, 2006

Sidewalk art, from the Savannah College of Art and Design sidewalk art show in Forsyth Park, 2006

Farm art, Dublin, GA, 2006

Farm art, Dublin, GA, 2006

Sorry Charlies, on Ellis Square in Savannah, GA, now re-opened following repairs stemming from local government incompetence, 2006

Sorry Charlies, on Ellis Square in Savannah, GA, 2006

 

 

Nature's art. A stump in the Okefenokee Swamp, Southeast GA, 2000

Nature’s art. A stump in the Okefenokee Swamp, Southeast GA, 2000

 

 

 

How America looks from Bali, 1996

How America looks from Bali, 1996