Anchor symbolism 

I started seeing these bracelets on Instagram a few months back and since I use paracord for my pendants I decided to make one of these. I looked up the meaning and most writings I’ve seen refer to a sea or sailing, or other maritime connection. While that certainly is significant, we should look deeper.

I’m not a very good swimmer, or very water-oriented. So sailing wasn’t my first thought when I saw these. Anchors speak to me of stability, holding one’s- and being held in place. They symbolize grounding, and mindfulness…anchored to now.

You can spend a few dollars to make one of these, or there are a number of sites that offer them for more.

Sitting in the silence

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The power went out sometime around 2am, and has been out for about the last two and a half hours. I have to do everything by candlelight to get ready for work. I have six burning right now. The tealights won’t burn as long, but are better than the votive in the kitchen that keeps pooling wax and drowning it’s flame.

It’s kind of nice not having the 60hz buzz of the electricity and everything that is plugged in. I can just hear the storm and whatever traffic is going by outside. Other than not having cedar floors and a wood-burning stove it reminds me a little of the cabin at King’s Canyon National Park in California.

This is in no way similar to the days- and weeks-long outages that many suffer under every year. I remember it being out for over 24 hours a few years ago, but that’s been the worst I’ve experienced living in Austin. I wish I could sit here until sunrise, but my shift starts at about that time. So we’ll have to end our hour of camping here.

A billion years as a day

My existential and cosmological ramblings with a little dab of Zen and science.

betelgeuse
Betelgeuse, Credit ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2. Acknowledgment: Davide De Martin.

Stars are a good reminder of how the universe is all one and there is only now. This is a photograph of the star Betelgeuse, the 2nd brightest star in the constellation of Orion. It’s nearing the end of its life and has been showing signs that it’s ejecting matter from its surface. It’s a red supergiant nearly 12 times the mass of the Sun, and it is roughly 650ly from us. Light takes 650 years to reach us. Changes on its surface are that old. Astrophysicists are watching for evidence of a supernova.

So let’s forget all that for a moment and look at it from the perspective of 18th Century astronomy. We’re out at night looking at Orion. We’re tracing lines from the feet up to the belt, up the tunic to the shoulder of the  arm that’s drawing the bow. And up at the left at the shoulder of the huntsman we see a star that can look pinkish at times.

And a minute later the star explodes.

We take out a notebook and make notes. We describe what we see in every way we can. We write about it for days until it stops being visible in daylight. From where we are in the 1700s the star just blew up. We don’t know about c, or concepts like light-years. We don’t understand that the actual explosion happened sometime in the 11th century during the crusades. This is all happening ‘now.’

And even today, with all our understanding of theoretical astrophysics, whatever we observe, in a sense, is happening in real time…because now is all there is.

Towards living ‘in the now’

This is the first of a series of posts as I come up with a way of doing this that works for me.
imageOver the years I’ve heard it expressed in other terms:

Mindfulness.

Presence.

Grounded.

Living in the moment.

The goal is to acquire a mindset that isn’t regretting and revisiting the past, and isn’t riddled with anxiety for the future. For me that means a mind other than the one I’ve had for most of my life.

That’s quite a challenge, because I’ve spent a good chunk of the last 40-odd years in one or the other place. The past and the future added together do not equal the present. The math of it just doesn’t work that way. There are things I regret having not done and there are things I want to do. And this makes “the moment” mean a time and place where I usually don’t want to be, because I’m trying to get through whatever is going on at the moment to get to the weekend or a holiday, or vacation. And it’s probably made me less effective at whatever has needed to be done. I haven’t cared much about that in the past, because I wasn’t examining it.

Now that I’m becoming more aware of the need for mindfulness, I’ve started to notice those times when I’m just going through the motions and giving tasks the minimum required to complete them. I often find myself saying, “…let’s get it over with.” I may be ‘here,’ but everything that is important, my heart and mind, are somewhere else. Perhaps being “mindful,” is a first step down the path to overcoming attachment to those future times of leisure. Hopefully sooner than later I can learn to be content with where I am and what I am doing…a sort of Jedi mindset, I guess.