Sunday, October 13, 2013

TAKING THE PLUNGE!

     Rochelle and I continue to live in our clothing optional community, although as winter comes, the optional part is not so enticing.
     We've just moved into our little cabin in the woods, which could be our home for quite awhile, though, if we don't get a door to separate the bedroom/kitchen from the bathroom, Rochelle is out of here.
     We live in 110 acres of pristine nature (what nature isn't pristine? And i constantly have to push the herd of deer out of the way so I can have my turn at grazing on our lawn)
     Just recently I discovered a trail on the property that goes along a creek. I'm looking forward to the rains when I suspect the creek will be running and I along with it. And, since it is my nature to jump naked into a stream, ocean or river, I will take a plunge. 
     Speaking of plunge, we've been plunged into a community of people--staff, guests, members, residents, interlopers, etc. that feels like we're living in a combination of a soap opera, "Survivor" and "Modern Family". What a show!


     And, I find it so fascinating that most people, including many of those who live and work here, along with my spouse, find being naked in public so uninviting and intimidating. Understandable, living in a society that pins so much of our self-image on what our bodies look like and as a result, what covers them.
     But for those of you who are jumping at the chance to go naked in public, in nature, in front of other naked people and to jump into the stream with me , come visit us. It is a very freeing experience!!! But if you'd rather not, by all means, stay dressed. It is, after all, "clothing optional."
     Of course, there is the mountain lying, recently seen by one of our neighbors chasing a raccoon. "Um...Yummny," growled the mountain lion. 
Our neighbor, on the other hand just screamed.

Think on't
Andy Rumi

Friday, August 30, 2013

LEARNING FROM MISTAKES

 
     Since several people were offended by my last blog, I wanted to apologize to those "offendees" if my remarks felt insulting.
     On the other hand, any conflict is an opportunity for growth, or at least for humor and so I encourage those offended to muster up their courage and come talk to me.  I try to be sensitive, but like the offended, I too, often come up short and make mistakes.
     We live in a system, both our home/work environment and our world that is crying out for help and solutions to thorny, complex and daunting problems.  The opportunity here is to rise up (at least a little) from our ego perspective and see how any changes that we might be able to make within ourselves can be helpful to the growth of the whole.
     So, I say to those who may have felt challenged by my remarks, bring it on.  Let's see how we can help each other improve, so that the next time, when there is an inadvertent offense, we will be able to use it as an opportunity to achieve greater awareness and hopefully, laugh at ourselves.
     Several years ago, Rochelle and I were apart of a group that produced a regular Sunday morning gathering.  When we had our weekly meetings to organize the upcoming event, we made it a policy to deal with any conflicts that may have arisen during the week, especially interpersonal and intrapersonal ones.  We had a motto: "Let the need lead."
    All too often, human beings resort to blame and self-judgement when mistakes are made and interpersonal communication breaks down and turns to misunderstanding and hostility. So, to help us manage these altercations, we developed a 4 part set of principles:

  • Be willing to be honest.
  • Be willing to express your needs
  • Be willing to get off your position
  • Be willing take responsibility for your own feelings (and not blame anyone else--more on those principles in future blogs)

      These 4 tools have served us very well. Each one takes understanding and practice, but they really work. So, if you are one of the people who felt "judged" by me, come let's see where we were each coming from that led to our less-than-ideal behavior.
     As the Urantia Book says,   "You cannot truly love your fellows by a mere act of the will. Love is only born of thoroughgoing understanding of your neighbor’s motives and sentiments."
     So let us seek to understand one another, and grow our "clothing optional" community into one that not only makes it safe to bare our bodies, but also, safe and important enough to bare our souls.

Think on't


Andy Rumi

Saturday, August 17, 2013

JUXTAPOSITION PAR EXCELLENCE!

     
     After spending the last 4 weeks at my clothing optional "paradise," I'm ready to report on my findings...or at least my impressions.
     I was sitting in the hot tub with a few other naked people several nights ago, 2 of which were athletes--a young woman getting ready for her body-building show and a young man who was a mixed boxer or whatever they call those people who employ their hands, feet, head, elbows and genitals to beat the shit out of their opponent--and an older plus size lady.
     There it was--the juxtaposition. When they all got out of the tub, I saw the extremes of the human physical condition. But here's the rub (pun intended), they were all very gracious, friendly and affable.  So, if I put judgment aside, I was sitting in the midst of an all-together (also pun intended) fine group of human beings.

     My community (fast becoming my family) is characterized by dramatic contrasts.  First of all, there is the environment--120 acres of pristine land with forests, cougars, deer, and all the comforts of home- hot tub, pool, sauna, cold running water, as much food as I want, etc. 

     There is the staff  which, like many families is about as dysfunctional as you can get. Emotionally  immature, reactive, blaming, victimizing, making excuses, low self-esteem, undeveloped--and that's just me. 

     Then there are the guests and the people who live on the property, which includes this unique and very tiny aggregate of people who prefer to walk around naked--no matter what their size and shape, and I happily among them.

    Just last night there was an open mike--mostly nude people dancing, singing, playing music and Rochelle and I performing a couple of our sketches-- for the first time totally nude, (well, Rochelle wasn't so nude) which we were never able to do in Kansas.

     The staff is full of contrasts and conflicts. Some of us are very competent and helpful while others of us struggle to get to our best, and it seems that I have become the go-to guy for all the venting, complaints and whining --often directed at the other staff members. I try my best to stay out of range of the barrage of verbal abuse. "I just work/live here. I know nothing."

     The other curious thing is that staff members come up to me asking what to do about problems and issues that require an executive decision. "But I just got here." I whine. The manager, just the other night, asked me to decide who was going to be the chef for the evening among a selection of candidates some of whom, including me, aren't really cooks.  "It's your call," I said. Whew! Escaped that one!  
     
     And yet, as A Course in Miracles says, "Everything other than love is a call for help and healing."  Lots of calling here. All day long I am besieged and challenged by this quirky mixed bag of love and asking for love.

     And that doesn't include the guests with their needs and complaints. ("Oh, by the way," says one guest, "All the slats fell out of our bed last night.")
    Just yesterday, with 40 guests for the weekend all wanting breakfast at the same time and a young man, obviously not a cook but being the cook, trying his best to deal with it and the guests having to wait up to 45 minutes for their breakfasts. Not happy campers (literally).    So about an hour later I found myself giving my first all nude apology to a group of 40 naked people all lined up for their class photo. (Do not do this at home)

     Now, because I do tend to exaggerate for the sake of irony, my comments may be offensive to some. If so, I hope you will come and talk to me about them and let me know how you feel and what we can do to make things better.  Sometimes, we find ourselves in a system that is less than perfect and we can rise to the occasion or allow it to bring us down to our less-than-best behavior, the inevitable consequence of living on an immature slowly evolving planet. Whatever we do or say, if we can have dialogue, we can all improve.  So, let's talk.
    But, this is my community and for better or best, I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it and to be a source/catalyst for love, healing, evolution and most helpful--humor.
     My home is clearly a place for me to practice what I believe and teach, staying centered when people are dumping on me, exerting self-control in the face of all that free food, not getting sucked in to the ongoing crises that beg for solutions, as well as sorting out the complex array of forces that contribute to this place being what it is, so we can make it more congruent with the beautiful nature that is its context, and of course staying in the "awareness"--practicing the Presence of God.

     Oh, one more thing. Dotted throughout the human landscape I get to experience the most lovely moments of true connection and the sharing of love. Intimate moments (don't go there) of mutual recognition and gratitude. These moments usually come unexpectedly, so I have to stay ever alert to the inevitable miracle hidden a midst this denuded juxtaposition at my clothing optional home.

Think on't
Andy Rumi



Saturday, August 3, 2013

CLOTHING OPTIONAL

"Clothing optional"  I love the sound of those words.
Why? Because I have the belief that if you don't need to wear clothes, why wear them? And when I found out that my new home is in fact, clothing optional, I was delighted."
"But wait, isn't everybody's home clothing optional," you might ask.
Well, yes, but not as "clothing optional" as a Naturist Resort.

A few months ago, when Rochelle and I were liberated from our home in Fairfax, CA by the mortgage company (to the horror of many of our friends, for whom the thought of being homeless at our age was, well.....horrifying.), I was curious as to where we would end up live before we end up.

After moving 15 times +  since May 5, eager to find a home, we've landed at a Naturist Resort where we have found, not only a home-modest though a Yurt may be-but a whole community/system/business that apparently needs our help and our particular talents and gifts--The Naturist "colony" itself. (More on that complex system later)

The community has been in existence since 1935, which shows that it has staying power. It sits on 180 acres of forested land complete with various kinds of abodes (tents, cabins, trailers, yurts) several meeting yurts and a main dining/event room with a commercial kitchen, and a variety of unclothed human shapes.

The sentient beings I live with every day include the people who own the place, the staff, members, guests, interlopers, a herd of 10 deer, skunks, impertinent racoons, lots of bees and flies, and our resident wild cat, who ever assures us that this is her home and beware those who doubt it. She has been seen to eat cats for dessert in the drive way. God only knows whom she ate for an entree?

Indeed, after I landed they put me to work immediately washing dishes-lots of them. I have washed more dishes in the last 3 weeks than in the last 3 years. I like to think I'm getting better at it.  It's my Zen practice. Washing dishes does its best to keep me humble.

And yet,  from a spiritual perspective this "resort" is a veritable paradise.
The system is in need of lots of TLC, especially the people, both those who opt to wear clothes (most of the workers) and those who do not (members and guests). 

Since I've arrived at the realization that the "pearl of great price," as Jeshua called it, is being of service, I can say that I've landed in a veritable paradise. 

My ongoing blog about these adventures will reveal the many stories, characters, plot twists and creative opportunities that we encounter. I have a book's worth of surprises and conundrums already.

Much of the personnel is, shall we say, less than highly evolved (me, for instance, but far be it for me to judge). So, we've been given an opportunity to be part of the healing and evolution of this "Naturist" community. 

Oh, BTW, If you haven't figured it out by now, we're living at what used to be called a "Nudist Colony." but which now prefers to think of itself as a "clothing optional resort."

I'll stop for now and let this sink in and give you time to imagine what it must be like living in a "clothing optional community," and as I've been sitting in a coffee shop writing this-a place where clothing is not optional- for most of the morning, I feel a strong need to get naked.

So I'm going to my new clothing optional home and find some place on its 180 acres of wooded land to....... exercise my option.

Think on't
Andy Rumi






Friday, June 21, 2013

LIFE IN A PARADOX

I'm in a paradox


This is a poem I wrote many years ago.  it's coming back to haunt me.
I AM ALONE 
I am alone,
an orphan.
I wander, shabby,
in a cave or on a street...
in a car...or at 7-11.


I wander alone in the nightclub
listening to the barkers' call
beckoning me out of my aloneness
with their vacant voices

into open doors that reveal nothing
that I haven't already known...
titillations,
like pain,
to make me feel alive.

when actually...

I am alone.
My movements are linear,
along forgotten railroad tracks
and empty streets
that pass a long way from oasis
or automobile stops
with hamburgers and cheap gas.

I am alone,
a wanderer in time,

isolated,
a little ball...

no orbit,
just spinning out in space,

no nucleus to hold me,
no gravity stops.

I sit on bar stools, desk chairs, and factory trucks
turning over soil with no minerals in it...
delusions of real manure....

I am alone.

It's curious to me that while I don't feel all those feelings now, I do feel quite alone--which becomes especially paradoxical since I aspire to end duality.  It's a quandary "devoutly to be resolved."
I have lived in 8 different places since moving out of our townhouse in Fairfax in early May.  I have lived in a house version of a junk pile,  a small bed on a boat, in a tent, on the floor behind a couch, at a Motel 6, a room in Ashland, OR--friend's house, and until next Tuesday at an apartment in Terra Linda (San Rafael). After that, who knows?

Now, here's another poem that I wrote years ago, that makes an interesting compliment to the first one, but which enhances the intensity of the paradox I live in.

"On a walk
or pacing,
when I really want to focus in,
to perceive Him
I stare down into grass, dirt, or concrete,
for in that focus, mesmerized,
the sweet inner stare of the unknown Father filters up to me
and I gaze, 
as into nothing,
the ground within,
to walk in the experience of realizing
I am accompanied."

So, I am left with this poem as a possible way to resolve the dichotomy:


A FACE

a face flows by me
            on the window sill
                        against drops of dew

a good morning face,
            feeling its own pulse
                        over the concrete
                        ...cobbled

lying back into itself
            beginning to wrinkle
                        but unwilling to make
                        ...contact

say 'hello', face
            and know
                        your
            ......self
 Think on't
Andy Rumi 



 







Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Striders have left the building. Yes, it's official. I am nestless. This is the upgrade from homeless. It means that people will let you sleep on their couches, or at least in their car. 
Rochelle is happily ensconced on a beautiful yacht. She has all the luck. The owner won't let me stay on the yacht. I'm too messy plus his other considerations. 
So, I'm am on the fast track of adapting. FYI- according to Yeshua (Jesus) in the book by Glenda Green, "Love without end." Love is "harmonic adaptation to the environment." or as the Urantia Book says, "the meaning of life is in its adaptability." Or as I would say it, "Though separated at birth, adaptation and forgiveness are identical twins."
"Decisions, more decisions, and more decisions." I will be blogging about my adventures--working title, Winging It.
Moving out, going through over 40 years of stuff, living out of suitcases--each day an adventure in discovery. That's what I'm about now.
In the middle of this our son, Ian, got married on June 1st to Ping Tsai.  What a thrill that was for both families and friends!
So now, the search for the perfect context begins in earnest.  Hmmm..... where can we be that we can maximize our contribution, our creative potential and eat.
All suggestions are welcome.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Got complaints? Consider our complaint department.

When you find yourself getting frustrated, when you get pissed off because you can’t get no satisfaction, when your exasperation level is about to reach depth con 5, don’t blow a circuit, don’t throw your baby out the window, and don’t destroy your cell phone when you’ve been on hold for an hour and a half. 
No, friends, don’t kill the messenger when you can drop by “Buck Stops Here Complaint Department.”  We’ve got a person on call 24/7 to hear your complaints so you can experience that enormous sense of relief that comes from dumping on someone who won’t make excuses, try to justify, rationalize, equivocate, project or mollify your well deserved rage.  Our trained complaint technicians won’t blame you back or hold you accountable.  You can rant and rave to your heart’s content
Our registered complaint technician won’t put you on hold, disconnect you or make you wait in line. She’ll nod in agreement and make you feel like everyone else is a stupid idiot but you.  As a licensed CRS practitioner, she’ll immediately forget all indications that you are a raving lunatic.
And if you should feel tempted to admit to your own mistakes, she will kindly, but firmly remind you that you always did your best so you can feel even more supercilious and justified in your righteous indignation.
Stop by this week and pick up a free bottle Buck Stops Here Poop Freshener.  This aromatic mind laxative will help you maintain the illusion that, while it may be true for everyone else, your shit does not in fact stink. 
Our Buck Stops Here Complaint technicians speak both bitching or kvetching depending on whether you’re a gentile or a Jew. Please specify before you start griping.
Come by Buck Stops Here Complaint Department and we’ll make sure your complaints reach a sympathetic ear.  And if you still feel that you’re still getting no satisfaction, we’ll gladly return all your complaints and you can shove them up your shredder.
Not available in California.
 Think on't
Andy Rumi

Friday, January 4, 2013

FACING THE VOID


THE VOID by E. Strider
It looms before me like some amorphous monster
--that unknown non-place, non-thing, non-being
beyond the opaque familiar

So, I hide in my pain.
At least I know what that's all about--
Anything to avoid the might-not-be-anything state
that might not even be a state.

I clutch at my old car and furniture,
burn holes in my rug with the same old brand;
ask to be thrown a line from a waiting ship
before I leave this sinking one...

Prove to me clearly, if you can
that something exists on the other side of the fog.

Yeah, yeah, they said Jesus came back from the void,
but you can't be sure.

Hell, No!  I won't kill myself!
This is it.  This is what I've got.
I don't care if it is exploding,
Don't you dare unplug me!


 I've studied A Course in Miracles since 1977 and am very aware of the ploys and machinations of the ego--the part of the mind that defines itself by separation. But to actually encounter this fear-filled aspect of my being straight on, which I'm doing now, is unnerving and traumatic, to say the least.
And the irony is that, just by engaging it, I am feeding it with what it most likes to eat--attention.
It reminds me of this poem I wrote about the ego many years ago:




THE HOUR OF HUMILIATION
By Errol Strider


The ego,
standing up and preening
strutting around the stage...
in the mind,
waiting for laughs and applause,
like a comedian,,
the fool!

parading itself before spirited morticians,
not understanding the need to be humbled,
to be the fool,
with no applause,
just whips and scourging
and thorny wreaths around his head

smugly self-deceived,
basking in enfeebled acclaim
jaundiced reviews wending their way into oblivion--
an ignominious performance
attended only by critics
and jaded pedestrians
who stop long enough to gape and spit...

a defrocked, defunct comic
foolishly curled up
on the empty stage floor
with only the light of a rehearsal bulb
throwing his tears in shadows...

the ego,
a disrumpled has-been
sobbing on the splintered performance place
with echoes of canned laughter
scorching his brain



How's that for an image?
My practice right now is to not resist what shows up, to, in fact, embrace it, trusting that if there is any reality to it, it will persist and if none, it will disappear.
Let's Face It...yes, indeed, that is the practice--to face it and see what kind of face it wants to reveal to me..
Here's another poem in that regard.


A FACE

a face flows by me
       on the window sill
              against drops of dew

a good morning face,
       feeling its own pulse
              over the concrete
              ...cobbled

lying back into itself
       beginning to wrinkle
              but unwilling to make
              ...contact

say 'hello', face
       and know
              your
       ......self





So that  seems to be the ever present opportunity/challenge--to know my self--the true self,  which I understand is an un-ending self.  That means that any definition or boundary I wrap around this guy called, "me," must be released...in fact, unplugged.


 "'Tis a consummation
devoutly to be wished."--Shakespeare's "Hamlet"

Think on't
Andy Rumi