Septemus 54

A Time for Di7cipline

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I’m going to have to rethink my whole approach to being. I can’t just let everything fly out of me anymore. I’ve got to develop my intention.

I’ve noticed that the universe has a knack for pointing out the next lesson, and sometimes, its finger isn’t subtle.

I was jogging after Lucas left, just to clear my head.

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It feels good at night, when it’s silent out to settle into the rhythm of my feet on the pavement. I was just finding my cadence when I heard Panda’s voice, loud and clear:

“Sept? I’m sorry I bit your not-friend. He made you sad and angry. He hurt you, so I hurt him. Is he ok? It was only a bite, honest. I didn’t eat him.”

So that’s what happened to Lucas. My sister bit him? No wonder I flashed on Panda when Lucas was rubbing his arm.

This is so not right, on so many levels.

Panda picked up my feelings, even though I wasn’t sending to her. I’ve been like some rogue broadcasting tower that hasn’t figured out frequencies yet, spilling all my emotional junk to the pagotogo.

This is not OK. They’ve got their own stuff to deal with. Plus, this is my, like, my personal stuff.  I really, really don’t want to share my private angsty teenage garbage with all my siblings. They’re just kids; I’m a hot mess. This is so not right.

Yobaska. I am so embarrassed.

I’m glad Pops was there to talk after I finished my run and got out of the shower. I told him the kids were picking up everything I felt–I left out the part about Panda exacting my revenge on Stupid Nose.

“I’m just going to have to shut myself down,” I told Pops, “like a switched-off robot.”

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“I don’t think that’s the answer, son,” he said. “You’ve got a gift. It’s not right to turn off your natural form of communication.”

“But it’s like a data dump,” I said. “That’s not communication. That’s spillage.”

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He listened. I explained.

I have to get this under control. I’ve decided to stop for a while. I will keep on communicating telepathically with him, and with my baby brother inside of him, because we live together in the same physical space, and I can’t shut off my feelings at home. But until I figure out how to get control over this, I’m not going to be broadcasting to the pagotogo. Not even songs.

“Not even if they need you?” Pops asked.

Oh. Why does it have to be so difficult to do the best thing always?

“OK,” I replied. “If they need me, yes. I will practice sending to them directly, just the song, with just that specific information. The rest of the stuff, I shut off.”

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So now that I’ve decided the best thing to do, I’ve got to figure out how to do it. I’m going to work some meditation time into my day. And yoga. And I think I’ll read those Buddha books Pops got out for me. And also the Bhagavad Gita. And maybe Walden. And Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

I think I will visualize a cone of crystalline light around me–energy passes in through the top and down into the earth below my feet, but nothing escapes out the side.

Later on, once I’ve got this under control, I can experiment with lifting the cone when I’ve got a specific message to send out to a specific person. Or maybe I bore a hole through it, so the message comes out in a laser point. But that’s going to come much, much later. I’m entering preschool, and lasers are college.

But that still leaves Panda and the consequences of a bite on the arm. Biting someone is not OK, even if she is awesome for wanting to stick up for me.

I decided that I would write her an actual, physical letter and mail it to her. It’s a chance for me to practice discipline: communicating the old-fashioned, labor-intensive way, when just sending it out there would be so much easier.

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Dear Panda,

I got your message, and I’ve got lots to say:

Firstly, you are one bad-ass sister! You are most awesome. Thank you for sticking up for me.

Secondly, thanks for telling me the truth about it. That’s just one more way you’re awesome.

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Thirdly, it’s really not OK to bite somebody. I mean, if you need to protect your life or someone else’s, maybe you can bite–for protection. But not for revenge. For one thing, revenge is hardly ever needed. For another, there’s almost always another way to make things right. Or at least acceptable.

Fourthly, Lucas really didn’t do anything wrong. He just chose somebody else over me. He’s free to do that. And besides, I never told him how I felt in actual spoken words. Pops says spoken or written words are important here. We can’t always rely on transmitted feelings without them.

That’s why I’m writing you instead of communicating the other way.

I’ve decided I won’t be sending thought-messages for a while. Not until I figure out how to do this better. But I will keep listening. I’ll always listen. And if you need me, for anything, or if you even just want to say, “Hi,” I will always hear you. You’re my little sister!

And thanks for asking after Lucas. He is OK. His arm is just a little stiff is all. I don’t think I’ll be seeing him much anymore. But that’s OK, too. Or it will be. Eventually. When I grow a new heart. Just kidding. Not really, but it will all be OK for sure.

You know why? My pops is going to have a baby, and I’m going to be one busy bagoto! I will mail you a picture once the little guy is born. Oh–good news! The baby’s extra-terrestrial, too!

Stay cool, my paPandagoto!

Your brother (and your biggest fan),

Sept

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Author’s note: Many thanks to Thymeless for sending Panda’s message! Follow Pandora’s Box to keep up with Panda and Harmony’s thoughts and lives.

Three Rivers 16.1

Sixteenth Sim of Thirty Sims at Three Rivers

16. The gap inside is filled with presence

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Savannah Trejo loved to watch her young wife. Sierra moved with calmness. To be near her was to sit beneath a willow on a summer afternoon. Worries drifted away with the dandelion puffs.

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In the few years they’d been married, frenzy had dissolved from Savannah’s life–this, despite being the mother to two teens: Elaine, the foster child that Sierra and Savannah legally adopted, and Leigh, Savannah’s natural-born daughter.

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The girls weren’t angels: Elaine fell into moods, and Leigh would do nearly anything to pull off a successful prank. But somehow, Sierra made it seem that everything was ok: even the tension of Elaine’s hormonal cliffs and valleys or the principal’s call after an entire row of lockers were sealed shut with Leigh’s favorite brand of bubblegum.

For Sierra, life–in all its complications–was simple: accept everything. Nothing lasts, so nothing need be clung to nor resisted.

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Shortly after they’d first met, Savannah tried to learn Sierra’s secret.

They sat together at a café, and Savannah leaned over the table to look into Sierra’s eyes.

“How do you do it?” she asked.

“Do what?”

When Savannah finally managed to explain what she was asking, which was challenging because she wasn’t sure herself, Sierra just laughed.

“There’s no trick!” she said. “Do you remember when you were a baby?”

Savannah shook her head. “I don’t remember anything before Leigh was born. I mean, I know the facts, but I don’t remember how anything felt. It’s as if my life ended and then started again. Everything from before is merely hypothetical. Do you remember?”

“I do!” said Sierra. Sierra’s earliest memories were of lying in her crib while the sunlight poured in through the nursery windows. “Happiness, I discovered, was as easy as holding my toes! As natural as the sunlight! That’s all there is to it,” she explained. “Simply breathe! We have more than we need to be happy! We have everything.”

Savannah loved to watch Sierra walk through the park behind their home.

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“Are you meditating?” she asked sometimes.

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“I’m walking,” Sierra replied. “Walking and breathing and feeling the soles of my feet on the earth.”

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Savannah walked through the park while Sierra did a sun salutation. She wondered if she could walk long enough that her thoughts would stop. She wanted to ask Sierra if her thoughts stopped while she practiced walking meditation, but Sierra was in the middle of her yoga routine. Savannah continued to walk the path as it wound past the garden, behind their house, through the many arches and back past the sunny lawn where her young wife practiced yoga. With each step, she watched her breath. One, two, three, four–on the inhale. One, two, three, four, five–on the exhale.

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With each inhale, she thought: I walk on the earth. With each exhale: the ground is beneath me. With the next inhale: the sky is above me. Exhale: the ground is beneath. Around and around. Her feet sounded on the cement pathway, and the sound resonated inside.

She stopped to watch Sierra finish the routine. Stillness within, stillness without.

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“I think my thoughts stopped,” she said to Sierra, while Sierra rolled the yoga mat.

Sierra smiled.

They held hands and walked together down the path, while slowly thoughts found their ways back into the minds of each woman.

“Let’s have salad and scrambled eggs for supper!” Sierra said.

They met a community gardener on the way home.

“Oh! We should tell her about the next Green Party meeting!” Sierra said.

Savannah watched the two women talk. Her mind still had so much space within–is this what peace feels like? We don’t need the Green Party, Savannah thought. All we need is this. Stillness and quiet.

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They said goodbye to the gardener, who’d promised to attend their next rally, and as they approached the street, they came upon an old man.

“Good evening, M. Deveralle,” Sierra said.

“Ah, ma belle!” said the old man. “What is the young rebel doing wandering through the park this fine evening?”

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As they chatted, Savannah learned of the old man’s experience with political reform. “We will change the old ways once again,” he said. “You tell that to Alec. All he needs to do is call. I am always ready for the consultation.”

They bid goodnight to Claude Deveralle and walked the rest of the way home.

“He was once the leader of the Socialist Movement,” Sierra said.

“That old man?” Savannah asked.

“That man,” Sierra replied. “He has such stories to tell. Such experience.”

Savannah sat at the counter while Sierra chopped the salad.

“Are you sad, dear?” she asked.

“Oh,” said Sierra, “I suppose so. It will pass.”

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A hot shower, the supper of salad and scrambled eggs, and the sadness lifted and jokes flowed between the two.

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And then the doors slammed and the two daughters were home.

“School is the biggest crock of garbage,” pronounced Elaine. She sat on the couch and glared.

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While Savannah washed the dishes, Sierra sat next to her, not talking, simply sitting, smiling, resting and breathing. Elaine sighed and leaned against her mother. “If only everyone were like you,” she said.

Before bed, Leigh came down with an announcement.

“I’ve figured it out. I want to be a botanist. Either that or an astronaut. No, a botanist. Do you think that botanists make good money?”

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Her mothers laughed.

“I doubt that many botanists become botanists for the money,” said Savannah.

“No,” said Sierra, “but you know? There are so many good jobs for botanists!  And for gardeners, too! And if Alec wins, Three Rivers will be hiring even more of both!”

“I think I’ll be a botanist,” repeated Leigh. “I like trees.”

After the girls went up to their rooms, Sierra and Savannah tidied up the living room, putting away the books and magazines, watering the house plants, folding the afghans and comforters.

“I hope our daughters pick up something of you,” Savannah said, “so that when they move out into this big world, they’ll always have a center of calm, like we do, here in our home.”

“They’ll live their own way,” Sierra replied, “for it’s their lives, isn’t it?”

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