lulu tries to blog

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

the city of the dawn

In a previous post about Whittier, Alaska, I mentioned that I have a soft spot for unusual places. One of these places happens to be a lifelong source of fascination to me.

Back in the sixties, 1968 to be exact, a group of 5,000 like minded individuals broke ground on a social experiment that still continues today. With the support of 124 nations, they created a community in Puducherry, India that seems like it might be a cult -- except for one thing that is essential cults everywhere -- they have no leader.

Auroville (also known as The City of the Dawn) was at one time the magical brainchild of the late Sri Aurobindo and his counterpart the late Mirra Alfassa. During Sri Aurobindo's life, he established an ashram that surrounded his practice of integral yoga. Mirra Alfassa (also known as The Mother) took the ashram one step further by buying up land to create a functional city of total acceptance.

As state on their website,  there goal was simple; 
“The purpose of Auroville is to realise human unity – in diversity. Today Auroville is recognised as the first and only internationally endorsed ongoing experiment in human unity and transformation of consciousness, also concerned with - and practically researching into - sustainable living and the future cultural, environmental, social and spiritual needs of mankind.”
Auroville is a bizarre place, with structures that remind me of the city models used in Logan's Run or Star Wars. There at dome houses, curling layouts, and geodesic structures with weird plotting that rejects the usual grid structured city.

Within Auroville, there are citizens from all over the world that come from all walks of life -- regardless, of religion, culture, language, profession, race, or age.

There seems to be mysterious application process to be accepted as a permanent resident in Auroville. This involves many interviews, a two year period where you live and work (for free) in Auroville, other process I'm not entirely sure I understand, then you donate money in exchange for housing (or the ability to sustainably build housing).

Technically, there is no money or government in Auroville. The donation in exchange for something called an Aurocard is supposed to resolve exchanges within the city. However, not many follow this rule and still ask for cash donation exchanges or bartering. And even though there is "no government" there are many councils and groups of people jumbled together to make decisions or for fill tasks. 

The largest blight on the life of Auroville is the crime that bleeds in from outside villages into Auroville. The city has to contend with people from places like Kuilapalayam harassing woman or even attacking. But, lets face it much of India is dangerous and stricken with poverty. Most of the peace obsessed denizens (and visitors) are easy targets for the maligned.


Besides the fact that Auroville seems to be a unique mix of maverick spiritualists and solar powered retreats, they also are trying to do something more. That "more" is valuing acceptance and "progressive harmony". Is it radical? Yes. But, I can respect anything that is based on a creed like this;
  1. Auroville belongs to nobody in particular. Auroville belongs to humanity as a whole. But, to live in Auroville, one must be a willing servitor of the divine consciousness.
  2. Auroville will be the place of an unending education, of constant progress, and a youth that never ages.
  3. Auroville wants to be the bridge between the past and the future. Taking advantage of all discoveries from without and from within, Auroville will boldly spring towards future realisations.
  4. Auroville will be a site of material and spiritual researches for a living embodiment of an actual human unity.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

i am a cat

Everybody knows this about me and the other day I found a terrible book of "poems" written from the perspective of a cat. It vaguely reminded me of Sad Cat Diary by zefrank1.


The book is called I Could Pee on This and Other Poems by Cats by Francesco Marciuliano. Here are two poems from the book that amused me.

Nudge

Nudge
Nudge nudge nudge 
Nudge nudge nudge nudge nudge nudge
Nudge
Your glass just shattered on the floor

Elegy for a toy I broke 

You no longer jingle
You no longer roll
You no longer do anything
Since I had to see what made you work

I can´t deal with all this guilt
I can´t express my deep, deep grief
I can´t believe what a cheap piece of crap you were
Seriously, I hardly touched you before you broke

Monday, July 17, 2017

my mom is a hoarder or the purge

Ages ago (in the time of AOL and floppy discs), I stumbled upon a webpage dedicated to a young Englishman's plight with his mother's hoarding problem. This was also before THE show dedicated to the worst of the hoarding community. So, that webpage was my first exposure to the truth that my mother was a hoarder.

Luckily for me, she is manageable. Her problem is that she buys thrift store trinkets much faster than she (meaning my father) can donate them back to the thrift store. My parent's tiny two bedroom apartment has become more of a museum of needlepoint pillows, brass owls, glass paperweights, and flame-less candles.

The "junk lady" from the movie Labyrinth is an accurate representation of my mother and me.
Photo Courtesy:  capablecivilian.com


Unfortunately, this has given me a complex. I find myself cringing when I have more than two of anything. I find myself questioning the amount of cups I have or if the amount of towels I have are acceptable. There are even digital examples of my need to remove the clutter, where I delete anything I deem unnecessary from social media.

I call it, "the purge". 

Recently, I realized that this might actually be a positive compulsion. That this "complex" is actually...dare I say; a healthy habit. As the old adage goes, "a clean home is a clear mind". 

That is what spring cleaning is all about right?

So I have two systems to accomplish what is "needed" that I will share with you:

Phase I

Ask yourself five simple questions when wondering if you should keep a particular item:

  1. Can I function with out this item?
  2. What is the worst situation that would come of being without this item?
  3. Is it more useful to someone else?
  4. When was the last time I used this item?
  5. Does it cultivate my deepest happiness in some way?

Phase II

This is a quick list of things to remove or organize per room:

Living Room
Before organizing shelves and drawers I throw out or replace:

  1. Kick-knacks that are making a surface unusable
  2. Paper items not limited to; books, magazines, newspapers, letters, manuals, etc.
  3. Games, cds, dvds, or blu-rays
  4. Unused toys (for both pets, kids, or grown-ups)
  5. Unused electronics
  6. Unused pens or lighters
  7. Unused pillows or throws
  8. Old candles or air freshener
  9. Old decor or curtains
  10. Broken, torn or incomplete items

Kitchen
Before organizing shelves and drawers I throw out or replace:

  1. Expired items in the fridge, freezer, or cabinets
  2. Old or near-empty bottles
  3. Unused or extra utensils
  4. Unused containers, jars, or plastic-ware
  5. Unused books or menus
  6. Unused or rusting cookware
  7. Unused cups or mugs
  8. Unused cleaning items or pet items
  9. Unused electronics
  10. Take out or paper items

Bathroom
Before organizing shelves and drawers I throw out or replace:

  1. Old or near-empty bottles
  2. Old makeup or polish
  3. Old brushes
  4. Old candles or air freshener
  5. Old decor or curtains
  6. Old towels or mats
  7. Expired or sample-sized items
  8. Unused electronics

Bedroom
Before organizing shelves and drawers I throw out or replace:
  1. Old candles or air freshener
  2. Old decor, pillows, or curtains
  3. Old towels, sheets, or bedding
  4. Old socks or underwear
  5. Old shirts or pants
  6. Stained items
  7. Clothes that do not fit
  8. Clothes you never wear
  9. Scarves, purses, jewelry, or shoes
  10. Items without pairs like socks or gloves
  11. Hangers
  12. Unused electronics
  13. Broken, torn or incomplete items
Office or Creative Space
Before organizing shelves and drawers I throw out or replace:

  1. Kick-knacks that are making a surface unusable
  2. Paper items not limited to; books, magazines, newspapers, letters, manuals, wrapping paper, folders, business cards etc.
  3. Games, cds, dvds, or blu-rays
  4. Old cords or ink cartridges
  5. Old candles or air freshener
  6. Old decor or curtains
  7. Old photos or documents
  8. Old vouchers or coupons
  9. Old pens, pencils, markers or art supplies
  10. Old or unused fabric or notions
  11. Unused electronics
  12. Broken, torn or incomplete items

Online or Digital

  1. Unsubscribe from email sites
  2. Delete and organize emails
  3. Sort and name folders
  4. Sort and update personal contact or email lists
  5. Sort and delete old documents
  6. Sort and delete old games
  7. Sort and delete old music
  8. Sort and delete old images
  9. Organize images by year or subject
  10. Empty browser and spam folders
  11. Remove any large files like movies or project files

Purse or Personal
  1. Paper items not limited to; business cards, tickets, coupons, napkins, notes, lanyards etc.
  2. Hair items not limited to; bobby pins, rubber bands, etc.
  3. Jewelery
  4. Cosmetic items
  5. Change
  6. Eyewear
  7. Perfume or cologne
  8. Unused items
  9. Broken or incomplete items