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“Your real duty is to go away from the community to find your bliss.” – Joseph Campbell
28 May 2016

Dahlia’s: The Year Of The Garden

By: Jon Katz
Dahlia's: The Year Of The Garden

Dahlia's: The Year Of The Garden

This is the Year Of The Garden at Bedlam Farm, the farmhouse and the yards are now ringed with gardens, some of them thick and proud, all of them thriving. Today, we planted the bulbs in our expanded Dahlia garden. Tomorrow, a small now garden by the side of the farmhouse, to complete the encirclement of the farmhouse with a circle of beauty and color and light. Hot work today, it was nearly 90 and sticky.

Maria did the heavy work, I watered and encouraged and photographed and drove to the hardware store. And mow, I am worn to the bone from mowing in this hot sun. More later.

Posted in General

Muse’s Corner: The Examined Life.

By: Jon Katz
Muse's Corner

Muse's Corner

Socrates said an unexamimed life is worth living. Some time ago, I had a friend I thought was a close friend, she sought my opinion, expressed great concern for me, I trusted her. It turns out she was not my friend, had no real concern for me, and was trustworthy. I felt hurt, betrayed and humbled by the experience, that used to happen frequently in my life, it is quite rare now.

The relationship was my fault, I had slipped back into the co-dependent ballet that darkened so many of my days, and was so hard to face, even in my long first marriage.

My friend loved to analyze me and explain me to people. She was always telling me what i was feeling, but never asking me. In one of our last conversations, I told her she did not seem aware of the complexities of her life, she could not admit mistakes or  errors in judgement. She always had to be perfect, a sort of Disney presentation of the flawlelss self.

She became angry and told me she didn't care to be analyzed, and she knew everything there was to known. I guess the blinders came off.

The conversation opened my eyes to the sad reality of another co-dependent relationship, one of several that have scarred my life.

Co-dependence is not just something Dr. Phil yaks about with Oprah, it is a wicked disorder and can cripple people, they give whole chunks of themselves away to others, there can be no happy outcome in co-dependent relationships.

I do sometimes analyze people, and many of my friends love to analyze me. If someone does not care to be known or analyzed, that is up to them, I respect that, and even though my friend and I often talked about our lives and emotional histories, I stopped, and our friendship began to fray and fade.

You cannot have a healthy relationship with an unhealthy person, it just does not work.

I don't need to analyze people, although it can be fascinating, but I do need to be around people who are self-aware, who can examine their lives with some authenticity. It is difficult to do this alone, and good friends can be invaluable. So can good shrinks. I was in analysis and therapy for some years, and I was a reporter, I am pretty good at analyzing people.

Some of my friends have tried to use me as a therapist, but I know better than that. I am not a therapist, and never do the work of a therapist.  The Internet has spawned home-grown therapists and diagnosticians of all kind, and I scrupulously avoid them. You do get what  you pay for, and free therapy is almost always a fraud.

I learned first hand that therapy is profoundly different than friendship and people with complex and painful emotional histories can rarely come to see their lives clearly without help.

I have the most respect for people who seek help, they are the healthy ones. They are the strong ones. I believe inspiration often stems from the ability to examine our own lives, and to face the truth about ourselves and rip off the masks and the myths we use to hide and deny the truth.

Examining my life was one of the most difficult things I have ever done, and one of the most worthwhile. I left my therapist's office shaken, often in tears, sometimes in shock. I wanted to quit so many times, to say I don't wish to be analyzed anymore and storm out of the office. I'm glad I didn't. I examined my life and got it back.

I have not nearly completed this effort and self-awareness, and will never be done. This, in a sense, is the hero journey.

An examined life is not a finite process, it is never done. I have new and good friends now, I do trust them, and they trust me. I notice that every one of them has walked down the path Socrates suggested, and learning that an examined life is worth living. We talk deeply and honestly with one another, free of arrogance or defensiveness. We take what we want and leave the rest behind. These conversations are precious to me.

This, I think, is the source of my inspiration, to be willing to face the truth about myself, to hear the truth about myself – I  have never told anyone I know who is close to me and knows me well not to analyze me, I want to know what they see and, if necessary, face up to it. I want to share the truth about myself, good or bad.

Since I began to truly examine my life, it has become worth living.

Posted in General

Afternoon Graze

By: Jon Katz
Afternoon Graze

Afternoon Graze

The sheep will not be shorn for a few weeks, the shearer is coming to the June Open House. They tend to graze quickly in the sun, and go into the pole barn to get some shade in this heat. We let the animals graze in the side pasture for a few hours in the morning, and a few more in the afternoon.

Red is looking good after his laser treatment Friday and Fate had her tongue hanging off of the ground after running in 90 degree heat. The sheep pay no attention to her, so they don't get worn out, but I cut the running short and we brought out her wading pool, which she jumped in to get cool.

Posted in General

Pigs In The Heat

By: Jon Katz
Pigs In The Heat

Pigs In The Heat

Drove past a pig farm up the road this morning, and it was hot. The pigs love to lie in a shallow pond and sleep when the sun is strong. They have shaded shelters nearby, but the mud offers them protection from the sun and perhaps some coolness. It is always an interesting sight.

Posted in General

Fate’s Saturday Adventure

By: Jon Katz
Fate's Saturday Adventure

Fate's Saturday Adventure

Fate had a great Saturday adventure. She came with us to the hardware store, for coffee at the Round House Cafe to Yushak's store and deli in Shushan to pick up some meat for Scott at the Round House Cafe – Scott had  no car today and then to the town dump where we dropped off our garbage and recycling.

She is doing wonderfully on her rounds. In the hardware store, she rushes behind the counter where the staff keeps the biscuits, gets three or four treats and greets the customers. They she rushed back out into the car. This morning was her first appearance in the cafe, she seemed right at home, and Scott had a treat to give her.

She had great fun at the dump, where our friend Bob came out with some biscuits. He was rewarded with a kiss on the nose. Fate loves people – all people – and she is learning not to jump on everyone she loves. It was great bringing her around with us.

Posted in General