Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Let's Talk About Death.....

Once again there has been a shooting at a school.  A young boy described in the media as a "loner" and "bullied", coming from a family with a possible history of domestic abuse, took a gun into the school cafeteria and opened fire randomly killing three classmates.  My first reaction is "what is wrong with kids today"...then I took some time to stop and think.

Psychologists and the media will blame the parents, the child's upbringing, the stress of being different, being bullied and who knows what other reason.  I think I may just have to disagree with these theories.  I had a wonderful family, however I was always an outsider in school.  I was different and I was bullied.  I was a very quiet and introspective child.  My parents were not upstanding members of the predominate local religion, none of my classmates would play with me, and taunted me because of this.  When our family moved to a more urban setting I was still viewed as different and odd.  School was very stressful for me.  I never once thought twice about bringing a weapon into the classroom.  I never once thought about hurting anyone.

Growing up on a small ranch/farm I'd seen things die.  As far as a young child could know I knew what death was.  Death wasn't hidden from me.  I watched as my father butchered chickens.  I'd seen animals die.  I knew it hurt and it wasn't something I wished on anyone. 
As a Victorian Era living history hobbyist I know that how we view death is one of the major social differences between the 19th century and the 20th/21st century.  In the 19th century death was a common thing.  You saw it, you talked about it, it was in your parlour.  You had mourning rituals.  Today death is sanitized and not talked about, especially to children.   Death is no longer part of life, it is delegated to the germ free environment of the hospital...death is white, clean, antiseptic and unseen.  People don't know how to talk about death.  People are afraid to come face to face with death.  When people meet someone who is fighting a terminal illness they have no idea how to talk to them, no idea what to say.  It is usually a very awkward situation.

The only common connection to death today seems to be in video games, movies and television.  NOT a realistic education at all.  I remember reading an interview with a teen who stabbed a friend to death (this was several years ago).  The teen was appalled that the person screamed, fought back, bled, and struggled.  He thought all he'd have to do is shove in the knife and they would fall over dead...just like in the video games he loved.

Please know that I'm not blaming video games, movies, television, music or any other form of entertainment.  I'm blaming modern Western society for removing death from life.  Life and death are a balancing act.  You can't have one without the other.  You can't understand one without understanding the other.  We need to bring death back into our conversations, our rituals, our teachings.  There is nothing mysterious, frightening, or wrong about death.  Death is natural and should be viewed that way.

Our life is a precious journey with death as it's final destination.  Knowing that fact makes each day special and I wouldn't want to deprive anyone of that joy.

Le Petite Crone says:  I really don't understand people sometimes. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Good Vibrations!

My dear spouse "Himself" gave me a Tibetan singing bowl for my birthday.  I first saw them in a local shop where I purchase my incense.  I admired them for their beauty and for the bell tones you hear when you bang the rim with the bowl mallet.  I had no idea what they were, how to play them or anything about their history.  My admiration was mostly aesthetic.  Many of the bowls in this shop were beautifully shaped with colorful enameled patterns around the outside. 

Himself and I spent some time "banging"  on the bowls trying to decide which one I wanted.  I finally picked out a small, plain non decorated bowl.  It just seemed to be "the one" - the tone was pleasing and the lack of decoration at the time spoke to my soul.  So, now I am the proud owner of a singing bowl.  Singing?  Hmmmm...this didn't make much sense to me as all the bowl did was ring like a bell (although a very nice bell) when struck.  Off to the Internet for some research....thank you "You Tube"! 

I discovered how to make the bowl sing.  You run the mallet slowly around the outside edge of the bowl much like you would a damp finger around the edge of a crystal wineglass.  The sound however is NOTHING like a crystal glass.  The bowl sings!  Where a crystal glass has one pure tone the bowl has several voices, low, high, and in between.  It's different each time you let the bowl sing.  The singing seems to just exist rather than come from the bowl.  It's as if this song, and the resulting vibrations from it appear as if by magic; it surrounds and fills you. 

I noticed that I "feel" the song of my bowl right between my eyes, then in my throat.  I also discovered that my mind will easily go into a deep meditative state as soon as the bowl begins to sing.  I'm sleeping wonderfully now, my hormone/crone aged induced insomnia is all but gone!  A close friend had the same results after listening to my bowl sing.  She has since obtained her own bowl and is an avid user of it for meditation.  I feel her bowls song in my solar plexus and stomach.

Doing more research on the bowl I read that individual bowls will target one or two specific "Chakras".  I've never been a believer in Chakras but after experiencing my bowls song I'm becoming a believer.  I have to admit I was a bit closed minded about this, but like so many other things "age and experience" is opening my eyes!

I recently read a fascinating article about Stonehenge.  A new theory has been put forth by Steven Waller, a doctoral researcher at Rock Art Acoustics USA, who specializes in the sound properties of ancient sites, or archaeoacoustics.  His theory is related to the effect of "accoustic shadow". 

If two pipers were playing in a field a person walking around them in a circle would at certain points hear nothing, the sound waves created by each piper would cancel each other out.  Modern-day experiments do reveal that the layout of the Stonehenge ruins and and other rock circles mimics the piper illusion, with stones instead of competing sound waves blocking out sounds made in the center of the circle.

Waller pointed to myths linking Stonehenge with music, such as the traditional nickname for stone circles in Great Britain: "piper stones." One legend holds that Stonehenge was created when two magic pipers led maidens into the field to dance and then turned them to stone.

Waller experimented by having blindfolded participants walk into a field as two pipers played. He asked the volunteers to tell him whenever they thought a barrier existed between them and the sound. There were no barriers in the field, but acoustic "dead spots" created by sound-wave interference.   The volunteers drew patterns indicating the dead spots that mirrored the layout of Stonehenge. 

Perhaps the people who built Stonehenge more than 5,000 years ago may have heard this sound-canceling illusion during ceremonies with musicians and thought of the dead spots as magical, prompting them to mark these spots with standing stones.

One of my favorite quotes, one that made me stop, think and reevaluate is by Albert Einstein "Everything in life is vibration!".  So true, from music, to voice, to chanting, sounds, air, light and down to the sub atomic level....everything vibrates.  Perhaps in our linked in, i-podded unconnected from each other lives that we seem to be living we have forgotten the beauty, magic and power of vibrations, of singing bowls and sacred places.

I know this little Crone still has much to learn.

Le Petite Crone says:  I'm thinkin' of good vibrations!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

From the Heart for Valentine's Day

Today is St. Valentine's Day...the day when you turn your thoughts to matters of the heart.  I'll be the first one to admit that while I am a romantic (somewhere deep down inside my Crone's heart) I feel that pushing the idea of romance on just one day is way too commercial.  Romance is when you are still in love after years and years together.  Romance is when your partner holds your hand when you are sick and look like a zombie or a creature from the depths of Hades!  I do so love my husband "Himself"!

So here is my Valentine's Day tale.  A few weeks ago I had an annual check-up at the women's clinic.  Oh no!  I'm late for my colonoscopy!  Yes, that rite of passage where you endure the dreaded "probe".  This will be my second one so I know what to expect for the procedure.

Prior to the "event" I had to go  in for a meet and greet with the doctor who is doing the dreaded deed.  I also had to (because of my age) have a blood test and an EKG.  I received an urgent call from the clinic saying I had an abnormal EKG and further tests were required prior to the "probe".  So now I'm exploring all the information I can find on my "heart abnormality".  I was confident that there really wasn't anything wrong but still.....there is always that little nagging doubt.  Being told your heart is not quite right bring up all sorts of thought of your mortality, things I should have done, things I shouldn't have done, all the people in  your life and how you feel about them.  It's quite a jolt to your mental state.

So next on my list of pre-probe events is an echo cardiogram and the soothing sounding "nuclear-stress test"!  This test involved scanning my heart after being injected with a radioactive substance, then getting on a treadmill, more radioactive juice and another scan, all the wile doctors asking me "how do you feel now?".....I almost had the impression that they were a tad annoyed that I didn't keel over with a heart attack during the "stress" portion.  Sorry guys, this little Crone is tough!

But all is fine...contrary to some friends beliefs I do  indeed have a heart, it's fine and in great shape.  So this Valentines day after spending much time, worry and money on my heart I'm "prepping" for the colonoscopy.  A shitty way to spend a day dedicated to romance but so be it.  I'm healthy, happy, in love and Himself is sitting right here next to me.  My life is wonderful.

I hope you all enjoy a little romance today.

Le Petite Crone says:  Oops, gotta go!