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Life Irrepressible

Several weeks ago, some sprout appeared in an otherwise empty glazed water bowl (one of several) in the courtyard. Somehow it didn't look like any one of our "regular weeds," so I left it alone to develop further. For years, that and the other glazed water bowls were not empty. They contained specimens of my daddy's own registered Louisiana iris cultivars. (There are 5 species of beard-less, water-loving irises that are native denizens of swamps, marshes, and margins of ponds and waterways from east Texas, through Louisiana—my birthplace, much of Mississippi and Arkansas, and scant regions of southern Missouri. Despite their wide range, they are officially dubbed "Louisiana Iris.") But months ago, around the time I decided I was done with 30-odd years of simulating marsh conditions here in the chaparral, I learned that a friend is in the process of re-wilding her 140-acre family farm in southern Missouri, and I happily "repatriated" hundreds of rhizomes to their native habitats. (The upshot was more space for more native California plants here at the Ortiz Taylor House.)

Back to the empty glazed water bowl. The turquoise one (pictured). Enter sprout. It did develop further. "This looks familiar," I thought. And I recalled that years ago, I planted a few native California whatchamacallits /slash/ thingamabobs in terra firma somewhere on the property here. Eventually, there was enough plant in the bowl that the iNaturalist app could identify it: Heliotropium currassavicum or alkali heliotrope (pictured below). Ah, yes. The name rings a bell. I was even able to confirm my purchases at Theodore Payne Foundation for Native Plants via antique receipts I unearthed. The deal is, those heliotrope transplants didn't take. Moreover, I didn't plant them in bowls. And it was years ago that they disappeared from off the grounds. Where did this new sprout come from? How did it show up in a bowl?

David Epston asserts that in Narrative Therapy, practitioners don't ask questions to gather information, but rather to generate experience. I can't know where the new sprout came from, nor how it showed up in the bowl. I don't even need or want the information. I walk by the plant, ask the questions, and generate Wonder. I ponder that life is irrepressible. In this Age of Information, Wonder is what I need and want. Merely to ponder is subversive.


(All times are PDT.) TUESDAY, OCTOBER 18 (online) 1:00PM. Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Every 3rd Tuesday (like October 18), 10:00-11:00AM, LACMA teaching artist (and my Time Bank buddy) Elonda Norris ''guides care partners and persons living with dementia or Alzheimer’s to look at and discuss works of art from the museum's collection." As of now, the FREE tours are still virtual via Zoom. Reservations are required. For details, see the Personal Connections page at LACMA's website. SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22 (in-person) 9:00-10:00AM. Coach Rob Silver (pictured) of It's Balanced will be guest co-facilitator this week at my Saturday in-person Integral Qigong and Tai Chi session in the Silver Lake "Wilderness." For directions, write By donation: $0-20.

It was seven years ago this week that I was driving around Frogtown, looking for native elderberries to use in diy cough remedies. Yes! I found some elderberry shrubs, and whoa! I found my car pointing in the direction of a sign that read "Qi Place." That's where I met Rob Silver. We talked, he joined the Time Bank, got active at (and endeared himself at) the Micheltorena Elementary School Community Garden and the Hollywood Sunset Free Clinic. To learn what Rob is up to nowadays, please see here and here. And come this Saturday for Rob's own proprietary blend of Qi! (Disclaimer: Beach not included.) SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22 (in-person) 10:30AM-1:00PM. Los Angeles Eco-Village tour, 3554 W 1st Street, Los Angeles 90004. Founder Lois Arkin provides twice-monthly tours, sharing about the LAEV intentional community—about 40 folks, who are raising the quality of community life, while lowering environmental impacts and expanding public awareness about more sustainable urban living. Reservations are required. Time Bank members may pay the admission in "time dollars"! For more info and for reservations, click here. If you miss this one, reserve for October 30, November 20, December 18, or December 30! SUNDAY, OCTOBER 23 (in-person) 11:00AM-1:00PM. Cooking with the Sun: Solar Cooking Workshop at Los Angeles Eco-Village. $10-20. Host: Carol Springer (Click on link for info on her Trauma Touch Therapypractice.) DAILY (mostly online, times vary) Meditation Coalition teachers' offerings include: Mary Stancavage's daily, virtual, half-hour sits at 7:00AM > Frank Baird and Vivian Hermiz's Resilience Practices: Cultivating Mindful Well-Being on Thursdays, 5:00-6:00PM > Mary's Online Dharma Classes on Thursday and Saturday evenings > rotating facilitators' online Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Sangha every Sunday, 6:30-8:00PM > Ruth Dease's primer martes del mes Viva la Atención Plena > Mary Stancavage and Mary Ann Gallo co-facilitating Women and Whiteness monthly. Visit the website for details. WEEKLY TUESDAYS (online) 10:00-11:00AM. My Tuesday online Qigong sessions. Zoom link: Request password at By donation: $0-20. TUESDAYS (through November 15, but skip November 8) (online) 5:30-7:00pm. "Post Human Infrastructure," the 9th edition of Metabolic Studio's Learning and Mending. "This series will explore the commons of soil, the air we breathe, water, sound, and the potency of seed and mycelium networks. It involves letting go of the outdated ideas that do not support and serve the life web. As a studio practice, we aim to facilitate this rebound and regeneration. We seek to engender self-propagating and self-generating feedback loops that feed the life web in places that have been ground down to an inert state." FREE. Register here. WEDNESDAYS (online) 8:30-9:45PM. Pranic Healing with Ted Leonido-John, MD (my Kaiser psychiatrist buddy). "A powerful free live online self energy cleansing and meditation class." Click to join the scheduled Zoom meeting. THURSDAYS (through December 22) (in-person) 3:00-7:00PM. Metabolic Studio at the Los Angeles River Farmers' Market. "Our booth will be activated with music and a variety of community crafts including seed processing, embroidery, mending and more. We look forward to sharing our collective knowledge of this sacred Tongva Gabrieleno land as well as learning from the community members who take time to sit and dialogue with us each week." This event is free. It is my intention to hang out here regularly on Thursdays. It helps to have "accountability buddies." Might you be one? If you decide to go some Thursday, please let me know, so we can meet up! FRIDAYS (in-person) 11:00AM-12:00PM. Metabolic Studio's Singing in the Darkness. ""LIVE, OUTSIDE, under the resonant Broadway Bridge at Metabolic Studio. We will create together some fluid, beautiful, cohesive, choral music through improvisation conducted by O-Lan Jones. The whole spectrum of singing experience has a place in this choir—Come as you are—Drop-Ins are Welcome!" The official Metabolic Studio address is on N. Spring Street, but there is no Spring Street entrance. Instead, park as close to 1786 N. Baker Street and find your way to the warehouse entrance and the underside of the Broadway Bridge. FRIDAYS (online) 2:00-3:00PM. My Friday online Qigong sessions. Zoom link: Request password at By donation: $0-20 FRIDAYS (online) 8:30-9:45PM. Pranic Healing with Ted Leonido-John, MD (ditto). "A powerful free live online self energy cleansing and meditation class." Click ... AND CALENDARIZE THESE!

MONDAY, OCTOBER 24 3:30-4:30PM. Rally for a Clean Green Pasadena, Steps of the Pasadena City Hall, 100 N. Garfield Avenue, Pasadena 91101. Please see that included in the activities is a 5-minute children’s theatre performance of “Switch,” an original play written and directed by Sylvia Holmes. Sylvia is a member of the Pasadena Time Bank and Transition Pasadena. I first met her, when she was coordinating the installation and care of the free food garden on the grounds of the (sadly short-lived) Pasadena Food Co-op. Beautiful Swales is one of her babies. She leads mindfulness meditation sessions as a Cancer Support Community Pasadena volunteer. Occasionally, she and I gong some Qi. And apparently, she writes children's plays! FRIDAY, OCTOBER 28 4:00-5:30PM. Día de los Muertos at Wisdom Arts Laboratory, 520 East Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena 91104. Wisdom Arts Laboratory is an organizational member of the Pasadena Time Bank with extraordinary programs for children, families, and the community. "We will be building small altars, painting wooden skulls, cutting papel picado, and making art." SATURDAY, OCTOBER 29 7:30PM (Doors close at 8:00PM). Uncanny Means' Death Night: a hallowed night of magic and communion, theOffice, 1347 19th St., Santa Monica. Tickets: 25 So, I've just been invited by organizer Wade Gasque to provide some Qigong as part of this multi-modal experience! I feel so honored! I kinda-sorta "met" Wade about a year into the pandemic via an online community that Charles Eisenstein (author of Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition) formed upon abandoning Facebook. And then Wade and I became Facebook friends. And then time passed. And then he joined me for an online Qigong session. And then we got to talking. And now I'm a co-presenter at this event. I am feeling excited and challenged to put together a Qigong sequence that will help us all to experience full embodiment, before shifting into ... well ... the death part. (I'm thinking of the way we "dissolve in Qi" near the end of every Tuesday online and every Saturday in-person session!) What a privilege! PHOTOS

TOP: Alkali heliotrope, generating Wonder in the former Louisiana Iris water bowl BELOW: Iris 'Royal Velour' (Sidney Conger, registered 1953), former growing in the turquoise glazed water bowl that now sports a spontaneous alkali heliotrope! (Pronunciation Guide: In Louisiana, the name sounds something like "rawl vuh-lua." Rhymes with kahlua.)

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